Monday, June 29, 2009

Savings Rate vs. Consumer Spending: What will the future bring?

Below, I have a chart of the U.S. Savings rate going all the way back to 1970 and comparing year over year growth, which I read in an article titled, "Global Growth Likely to Stagnate Through Summer". The economy has been built upon Consumer Spending contributing to 70% of our economy for at least the last 20 to 25 years. But now that trend seems to be in reverse, as is shown on the chart. If this is true for our economy, the big question is whether our exports can increase sufficiently to fuel our economic growth and take the place of our Consumer. We find ourselves in the very same place as the Japanese did in the early 1970's, which ultimately led to their lost decade of the 1990's.

No one knows what will ultimately happen here in the U.S. But we need countries like China and India to help fuel our economy and we had better get used to it. We need to build a closer economic relationship with China and that is in our national interest, or we could have our lost decade as well. It isn't going to be easy, as we are not as aligned with China because of their Human Rights record, but we need not to meddle in China's internal affairs as the way of showing our displeasure. We have learned much from the latest trouble in Iran and how technology has given them a chance to raise their collective voices in opposition to what they deem as an injustice by the Supreme Leader and government they trusted. We must let technology do its magic in China and learn to be more patient as a people. Otherwise, we and our children have a dark economic future. We can't keep spending like we have for the past 25 years. It is time to save and it looks like we may have finally learned that lesson.

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