Therefore, this inevitable, and by all accounts brutal upcoming recession, will coincide with two unprecedented and extremely dangerous conditions that should make the next downturn worse than 2008.
First, the Fed will not be able to lower interest rates and provide any debt-service relief for the economy. In the wake of the Great Recession, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke took the overnight interbank lending rate down to zero percent from 5.25 percent and printed $3.7 trillion. The Fed bought longer-term debt in order to push mortgages and nearly every other form of debt to record lows.
The best the Fed can do now is to take away its 0.25 percent rate hike made in December.
Second, the federal government increased the amount of publicly-traded debt by $8.5 trillion (an increase of 170 percent), and ran $1.5 trillion deficits to try to boost consumption through transfer payments. Another such ramp up in deficits and debt, which are a normal function of recessions after revenue collapses, would cause an interest-rate spike that would turn this next recession into a devastating depression.
It is my belief that, in order to avoid the surging cost of debt-service payments on both the public and private-sector level, the Fed will feel compelled to launch a massive and unlimited round of bond purchases. However, not only are interest rates already at historic lows, but faith in the ability of central banks to provide sustainable GDP growth will have already been destroyed, given their failed eight-year experiment in QE.
Therefore, the ability of government to save the markets and the economy this time around will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Look for chaos in currency, bond and equity markets on an international scale throughout 2016. Indeed, it already has begun.
Michael Pento produces the weekly podcast "The Mid-week Reality Check,"is the president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies and author of thebook "TheComing Bond Market Collapse."