What in the world happened? There we were, with the Dow over 14,000, U.S. home prices close to their all-time highs, and consumer and commercial credit flowing as freely as honey on a hot summer day. Then, seemingly overnight, things weren’t so sweet. It may feel like the proverbial rug was randomly pulled out from under us, but in fact, we’ve been setting ourselves up for this multibubble fall over many years. Beginning with our decision in the early 1980s to run large government deficits, six co-linked bubbles have been growing bigger and bigger, each working to lift the others, all booming and supporting the U.S. economy:
The first four of these bubbles have already begun to burst, leading to the global financial crisis in late 2008 and 2009. Next, while most people think the worst is over, the coming Aftershock will bring down all six bubbles in the next two to five years. (A ten-year fuse, though possible, seems unlikely.)
We know this is hard to believe, and we wish it weren’t true, but as you will see in this and the next chapter, all the evidence is right there, plain as day. You just need to know what to look for.
What is a bubble? This should be an easy ...