Summary of Endgame

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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Analytical
  • Visionary

Recommendation

Amid all the postmortems of the 2008 recession, this might be the bleakest. Financial gurus John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper argue persuasively that no quick recovery is on the horizon. Instead, the world’s economies face years, perhaps decades, of tepid growth, roller-coaster markets and high unemployment. The authors combine their analysis with research from a variety of economists to reach the conclusion that deficits will continue to grow and politicians will continue to avoid making hard decisions. While their rambling reasoning is sometimes disjointed and their analysis presents nothing startlingly new, Mauldin and Tepper make an informed case that investors, consumers, managers and policy makers need to prepare for a rocky future that’s nothing like the comparatively easy years of the recent past. getAbstract recommends this sobering look at the future as important reading for those who want to follow the full spectrum of analysis.

About the Authors

Financial expert John Mauldin is president of Millennium Wave Investments. Jonathan Tepper is founder and chief editor of Variant Perception, a research group.

 

Summary

Borrowing and Spending Like Teenagers

In the run-up to the 2008 recession, American consumers, business leaders as well as politicians abandoned decades-old habits of making difficult choices and putting off gratification. Like a teenager who can’t quite calculate the long-term magnitude of bad decisions, the US spent too much money and saved too little. The nation’s irresponsibility has culminated in an economic game changer: This time the US will not be able to spend its way out of the slump. Instead, it’s in a “balance sheet recession” that may take many years to heal.

This crisis was several decades in the making. The proportion of current total US debt to GDP exceeds the peak reached in 1933 during the Great Depression. Then, US indebtedness – made up of government, business, financial and household borrowings – was three times GDP, but that was largely because the nation’s productivity fell, not because of new debt. In subsequent years, the ratio dropped, but by 2009, liabilities had greatly outpaced productivity. Now debt tops 370% of GDP. This borrowing fuels ultimately unsustainable growth. The final days of the “debt supercycle” ended with the 2008 collapse...


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