The truth is the U.S. has long been a post-consumer economy. Everybody already had a TV, phone, car, etc. 40 years ago, which is coincidentally when wages began their 40-year stagnation and the nation's public and private debts began exploding higher as the forces of financialization took over.
In other words, the only way to get people to buy more crap was to give them vast quantities of debt.
Now that debts exceed 350% of the nation's GDP, we've reached the end of the financialization process: we can't afford any more debt unless the interest rate is near-zero.
Hey, isn't that the Federal Reserve's policy now, forever and ever, near-zero interest rates? No wonder. If the nation had to pay a historically average rate of interest on its debts, the economy would quickly implode like a supernova star.
Take a look at this chart, courtesy of the excellent Market Ticker. It shows how much GDP has been created by each additional unit of debt. In other words, if we add $1 of debt, how much did that goose the GDP? If you follow the zero line, you will find that $1 of debt rarely boosts the GDP more than $1.
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