Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trade Deficit vs. Money Supply

Click to enlarge.

All the President's Men (1976) - Memorable Quotes

Deep Throat: Follow the money.

Bob Woodward: What do you mean? Where?

Hey Bob! I found it! The money was last seen leaving the country!

See Also:
Cumulative Trade Deficit Nightmares

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Balance on Current Account
St. Louis Fed: MZM Money Stock
St. Louis Fed: CPI
St. Louis Fed: Population


Stagflationary Mark said...

Just to be clear, I've taken all the quarterly trade deficits, adjusted them each for inflation, added them up, and then divided by the population.

AllanF said...

Incredible! It's not an exponential trend failure?

That makes two, trade deficit and healthcare. Or was there a third I am forgetting?

Troy said...


Yeah, around 2000 I figured out that Greenspan was happily expanding m3 to facilitate the new world order of Chinese mass production plus 50 oil or whatever it was.

One thing the neoliberals seem to ignore is how our trade deficit is ripping velocity out of the paycheck economy.

If you indeed follow the money, it's pretty brutal.

China buying GSE bonds was one way to refuel our spending power, but.we had to rotate them out of that play in 2008-2009.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I know! Once I saw a chart *without* an exponential trend failure I knew I had to post it, if only for the enormous potential for optimism that it would have!

Speaking of unbridled optimism, I can think of a few long-term growth trends that you are forgetting.

1. Prison Capacity
2. Food Stamp Participation
3. Payday Loans

Explosive growth! No exponential trends failures (at least not yet)! As a team, they will ensure that we get all the real prosperity that we deserve, both now and into the distant future. Woohoo!


Stagflationary Mark said...


One thing the neoliberals seem to ignore is how our trade deficit is ripping velocity out of the paycheck economy.

I had a college professor who failed about half of my advanced linear algebra class. He posted grades on his door in sorted order. The bottom half of the list was all 0.0. He was not a believer in the bell curve. It actually looked more like an exponential growth curve, much to the dismay of many of my classmates.

I knew it was going to be a rough class. The first day he asked how many of us had not had calculus. Two of us rose our hands. I shared that distinction with a young kid with white hair who very much looked to be playing the part of the albino math prodigy. I was told that he was the son of a music professor.

I miraculously ended up with a 3.6. I would never have guessed it. I had never struggled so much in a math class before. I could not even answer all the questions on the final. I figure the top grade of 3.7 went to the kid. Just a hunch.

And yet, every day in class most everyone seemed so confident (even as the instructor only assigned the double asterisk problems from the textbook as homework). It wasn't until I saw the grades posted that I realized how much denial there had been.

My former classmates are now roughly 47 years old. They are out in the real world. Some of them are making math based decisions on our behalf.

How's that for scary?

Stagflationary Mark said...

Here's a bonus story.

It was my first day in a physics lab class. We were in groups of two.

We were handed a bulb, a wire, and a battery. The goal was to light the bulb.

The group next to us needed our help. They'd been trying for about 5 minutes with no success.

I could understand, maybe, that one person could not figure it out. But two? Working as a team? In college?

How does one make it that far in life without having the slightest curiosity about how electricity works?

They are also my age now and are quite possibly making decisions on my behalf too. Sigh.

AllanF said...

Hahaha. I assume by now everyone's seen Murray's how thick is your bubble. I should come up with one for engineers.

Not to sound like a ____, but the last time I rubbed elbows with the hoi polloi was (thankfully) 9th grade. Though every once in a while I get a reminder -- like this week, in fact. We were brainstorming ideas for a 2nd grade class project and I came up with an "Illustrated Taxonomy of the flora and fauna of Smith & Bybee Lakes." I went on to describe how I thought it could be done and at the end one of the other parents says, "I like it, but now I have to go and look up the word taxonomy."

AllanF said...

Oh, my college was an all men's engineering school. That's a pretty thick bubble.

Stagflationary Mark said...


My bubble is so thick that I may not even know I'm in one. That's what it said, lol. That's probably true. I don't fit in all that well in general.

In my defense, it's mostly because I'm 100% introvert and have recluse tendencies.

That said, unlike the political elite I am far more comfortable shopping at Wal-Mart than Nordstrom.

On the one hand, I don't have beer in my fridge. I don't follow NASCAR.

On the other hand, I don't have wine in my cellar. I don't follow golf.

I'm not even certain that I'm human. ;)