Experts Agree: It Is Not 2008
If someone were to ask us what year it was, we would probably politely answer that it was 2016, curious to find out whether the inquirer was a) very confused, b) had only recently awoken from a coma and was still unsure of his when-abouts, or c) was a time traveler who got temporarily lost.
In the unlikely case that we should find ourselves unable to remember the year with sufficient precision to ensure a reliable answer, we’d probably consult a calendar. We recently found out that a great many people actually seem to be uncertain about what year it is. Or at least many mainstream media appear to think so, as they have launched an intense awareness campaign.
Specifically, numerous people seem to think it is still 2008. Wish that it were so – we’d be eight years younger. It all started on 24 August 2015, when two publications apparently discovered independently of each other that is was no longer 2008 and decided that this information should be urgently imparted to the rest of humanity. It all started with marketplace.org admonishing its readers to engage in mnemonic exercises so as not to forget:
If you repeat it often enough, remembering it will eventually become second nature…
Photo via marketplace.org
On the very same day, NPR noted that a number of economists agreed: it was indeed no longer 2008. Incidentally, this was actually a correct estimate, as it was clearly 2015 at the time. It was presumably good though that some reassurance on the point was provided by experts – that is apparently helpful with averting panic attacks:
Lay your calendar-related phobias to rest pilgrims!
However, these efforts were evidently insufficient: general confusion about the precise year we are in must have promptly resurfaced in early 2016. In the interest of keeping the general population in the date-loop, USA Today had the following information on its January 8 front page:
Right on! By this time the arrow of time as measured by the Gregorian Calendar had in fact advanced to 2016…
Inside, the paper assured its readers that once again, “pros” agreed with this assessment. Phew!
Once again, well-informed experts are providing reassurance. What would we do without them?
It turns out that not everybody realized this at once. One day later, the National Interest felt it had to bring its readers up-to-date as well. In hindsight, the photograph it chose to mark the occasion seems somewhat inappropriate:
Good news true believers! You have not traveled back in time after all! Wrong animal though.
It took another three days for CNBC to catch on, but they needed a Mr. Mather from PIMCO to tell them (PIMCO seems to be running a sideline as a time-keeping company):
One has to admit that Mr. Mather was quite right: it was in fact already 2016. PIMCO should consider raising his bonus.
Another three days later, editors at the Wall Street Journal began to entertain doubts about the perception of time and date prevailing among the paper’s readers. Better safe than sorry, they must have thought. Someone’s got to tell them!
The headline seemed to indicate that they even knew why it was no longer 2008. But the sub-header betrays that there were still some uncertainties. As you can see, it says there: “US economy and financial system are in a very different place now”. Wrong! They’re in a different time. Oh well.
By now you’re probably wondering where Bloomberg was while all of this was happening. Did Bloomberg’s editors trust that its readers were aware of what year we are in? It seems they were waiting for an expert study before making a firm pronouncement on the matter. Such a study was finally forwarded to them by Citigroup on January 20:
Instead of urging readers to remember what the current year is, Citigroup seemed to prefer for everybody to forget 2008. This is no surprise, as the bank reportedly suffered a severe dancing accident in 2008. This was rumored to be due to problems with the CEO’s hearing aid. What he erroneously took to be music was actually the sound made by bankers and hedge fund managers falling past his window on the way down.
On the very same day, Business Insider finally decided to consult an expert as well. None other than the famous Nouriel Roubini! If anyone knows for sure what year it is, it is surely he. Not only that, he even had the presence of mind to make a very useful suggestion as to what needed to be done to help those who remained confused – although it should be noted that he himself seemed actually slightly confused about the flow of time:
Roubini appears to believe that the universe has begun to contract – how else are we to interpret his assertion that “it’s not 2008 yet”? Fortunately, his unerring statist instincts still seem to be in perfect working order: Governments will save us!
To make 100% sure that its readers really understood that time had moved on, Bloomberg offered additional commentary on the topic on January 22:
Good news! At least we know now for sure that there’s no time machine hanky-panky involved. Nothing has traveled back to 2008 for a visit. The time-line is safe! No need to call the time cops – they can stay in the 29th, resp. 31st century for now.
It took about one more week for Barron’s to decide to bring its readers abruptly into the present, which it did on January 30:
It appears from this that Barron’s has also discovered why exactly it is not 2008. We have our own guess actually (don’t take our word for it, do your own due diligence – we could be wrong): the most likely reason is that eight years have passed since then.
It took almost another week for the good news to travel all the way to South Africa, where a local paper advised its date & time-challenged readers on February 5 to keep calm in the face of this monumental discovery:
Or as it says on the cover of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: Don’t Panic!
Finally, on February 10, Citigroup analysts felt sure they had at last found out what year it actually is and immediately informed Bloomberg of their theory. You will recall from further above that they previously were merely certain that it wasn’t the year of the Mazurka accident. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten it quite right just yet. Perhaps someone should mail them a calendar?
Closer, but still no cigar. We are slightly baffled that no-one at Bloomberg thought to tell them that it isn’t 2011 anymore. If you look closely, you will see that Bloomberg itself is evidently aware of what year it is.
The whole thing is a bit of a head-scratcher to be honest. We feel pretty sure that it is 2016, but with so many different papers desperately hammering home the same message, one has to wonder a bit what is going on here. However:
It’s Actually True
A friend has provided us with evidence yesterday that shows convincingly that it is indeed not 2008. The experts have it right! Below you see a chart of the performance of major European bank stocks from the beginning of this year compared to their performance in the same time period in 2008. Clearly, it must be 2016:
European bank stocks, performance in 2016 (dark blue) vs. 2008 (light blue), via Thomson Reuters.
Normally we try to carefully avoid the following phrase due to the costs it reportedly tends to involve, but here goes anyway:
This time is different!
Addendum: More Good News
We are happy to report that it’s not only not 2008 for the markets. It seems Hillary Clinton is no longer stuck in 2008 either. This was discovered by MSNBC on January 16 already. Like the rest of us, she has apparently also arrived in 2016 – and it is said to be worse for her than 2008!
Hillary Clinton has also made the trip from 2008 to 2016… but she may not like it.
Dear Readers! We are happy to report that we have reached our turn-of-the-year funding goal and want to extend a special thank you to all of you who have chipped in. We are very grateful for your support! As a general remark, according to usually well informed circles, exercising the donation button in between funding drives is definitely legal and highly appreciated as well.
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
3 Responses to “This Time Is Different!”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Alan “Bubbles” Greenspan Returns to Gold
Faking It Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy’s tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. […] The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. — Alan Greenspan, 1961 He was in it for the power and the glory... Alan Greenspan gets presidential bling...
- End of an Era: The Rise and Fall of the Petrodollar System
The Transition “The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better.” Ron Paul A new oil pipeline is built in the Saudi desert... this one is apparently destined for the Ghawar oil field, one of the oldest fields in Saudi Arabia...
- Writing on the Wall
Time to Sell... Maybe BALTIMORE – Yesterday, the S&P 500 hit a new all-time high. And the Dow just hit a new record close as well. If you haven’t sold yet, dear reader, this may be one of the best times ever to do so. It's still flying... sorta. Meet Bill Bonner's tattered crash flag Image credit: fmh We welcome new readers with a simple insight: Markets are contrary, pernicious, and downright untrustworthy. Just when the mob begins to bawl most loudly...
- A Fully Automated Stock Market Blow-Off?
Anecdotal Skepticism vs. Actual Data About one month ago we read that risk parity and volatility targeting funds had record exposure to US equities. It seems unlikely that this has changed – what is likely though is that the exposure of CTAs has in the meantime increased as well, as the recent breakout in the SPX and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to new highs should be delivering the required technical signals. The bots keep buying... Illustration via...
- The Central Planning Virus Mutates
Chopper Pilot Descends on Nippon Readers are probably aware of recent events in Japan, the global laboratory for interventionist experiments. The theories of assorted fiscal and monetary cranks have been implemented in spades for more than a quarter of a century in the country, to appropriately catastrophic effect. Amid stubbornly stagnating economic output, Japan has amassed a debt pile so vast since the bursting of its 1980s asset bubble, it beggars the imagination. A...
- Destination Mars
Asset Price Levitation One of the more preposterous deeds of modern central banking involves creating digital monetary credits from nothing and then using the faux money to purchase stocks. If you’re unfamiliar with this erudite form of monetary policy this may sound rather fantastical. But, in certain economies, this is now standard operating procedure. The “Tokyo Whale” Haruhiko Kuroda explains his asset purchase madness with a few neat little slides. Photo credit:...
- America Has Become a “Parasitocracy”
Dread and Denial So, let’s return to the discussion you can’t have with your congressman, your mailman, or your barmaid. It’s the important one. It concerns what the Fed is really up to. Eight years after achieving independence, a State modeled after the British merchant state was established in the US. It took a while for the Deep State to consolidate itself within it, a process that was accelerated greatly in the run-up to and aftermath of WW I. Illustration by Ana...
- Fat People for Trump!
Alphas and Epsilons BALTIMORE – One of the delights of being an American is that it is so easy to feel superior to your fellow countrymen. All you have to do is stand up straight and smile. Or if you really need an ego boost, just go to a local supermarket. Better yet, go to a supermarket with a Trump poster in the parking lot. The protest vote attractor with the funny hair. Image credit: Liberty Maniacs Trigger warning: In the following ramble, we make fun of...
- Long Term Market Perspectives
Methuselah Tree When looking for a good theme for this post I pondered for a while and then decided to use a picture of a bristlecone pine, which are widely considered to be the oldest living trees in the world. Ye olde bristlecone Photo credit: Kosta Konstantinidis You can find them near the Nevada/California border and if you wind up traveling in the area then I strongly recommend that head over to Bishop and from there head up high up into the White...
- EU Sends Obsolete Industries Mission to China
“Tough Negotiations” The European press informs us that a delegation of EU Commission minions, including Mr. JC Juncker (who according to a euphemistically worded description by one of his critics at the Commission “seems often befuddled and tired, not really quite present”) and European Council president Donald Tusk, has made landfall in Beijing. Their mission was to berate prime minister Li Keqiang over alleged “steel dumping” by China and get him to cease and...
- The Real Reason the “Rich Get Richer”
Time the Taskmaster DUBLIN – “Today’s money,” says economist George Gilder, “tries to cheat time. And you can’t do that.” It may not cheat time, but it cheats far easier marks – consumers, investors, and entrepreneurs. Tempus fugit – every action humans undertake has to take time into account. In the economy, interest rates serve as the signal and regulator of the inter-temporal structure of capital. In an unhampered free market economy, they tell...
- Gold is not Going to $10,000
One Cannot Trade Based on the Endgame The prices of the metals were down again this week, -$15 in gold and more substantially -$0.57 in silver. Stories continued to circulate this week, hitting even the mainstream media. Apparently gold is going to be priced at $10,000. Jump on the bandwagon now, while it’s still cheap and a bargain at a mere $1,322! All aboard... or maybe not? It all depends on what one wants to achieve – there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the...