An alternative to popular faith

Do we see the first hint of another recession?

In other posts, I have called to your attention the coincidence of reduced federal deficit growth and the start of recessions. History shows this repeated coincidence dates back even to the 1800’s, which arguably indicates a cause/effect relationship.

I also have noted that reduced deficit growth can continue for several years before a recession begins. I searched for a factor, that, when added to reduced deficit growth, would trigger the recession. One such factor seems to be rising energy prices, perhaps more specifically, rising oil prices.

Economics, like meteorology, is complex, so perfect correlations seldom are found, but this correlation is striking:

Debt and energy

The graph shows that when reductions in deficit growth are added to oil price increases, there is a strong incidence of recession.

An exception might be in 1981, though this may have more to do with the arbitrary definition of “recessions.” The recessions of 1980 and 1982, may more realistically be considered one long downturn.

I mention this, because today (Feb., 2010) we see the first hints of reduced deficit growth accompanied by increased energy prices, a possible danger signal. If these mini-trends continue, we may find ourselves on the cusp of yet another recession.

The U.S. government may have two options for preventing the next recession: Keep oil prices from rising, or increase deficit growth. The former might temporarily be accomplished by executing a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The later can be accomplished in myriad ways, though I tend to favor the elimination of the FICA tax as described at

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell