The “2011 is 2008 all over again”-meme has really exploded in the last few days, obviously helped by the fact that the dollar is near its 2008 lows, and oil is near its 2008 highs, combined with the fact that the market (for now) seems oblivious to it all.
Doug Kass is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.
In a Real Money column today, he writes:
It is clear to this observer that the U.S. economy’s forward momentum peaked in February as first-quarter 2011 growth, expected to be +3.5% 90 days ago, looks closer to +1.5% now. Most notably, higher costs for life’s necessities (food, gasoline, etc.) have begun to sap the purchasing power of an already vulnerable consumer. Meanwhile, home prices are exhibiting no signs of recovery and, arguably, have begun to experience a second dip. In contrast to cash-rich large corporations, small businesses continue to suffer, as evidenced by low readings in confidence surveys. Domestic loan growth is still weak and our local and state governments are preparing for European-style austerity (along with the implementation of higher marginal tax rates). Over there (in Europe), central banks are tightening, and austerity measures are being implemented. In Japan, the natural disaster has created dislocations and a material slowdown in growth. The Middle East remains a powder keg and a risk to worldwide growth. And even in China, growth is decelerating under the pressure of a series of tightenings aimed at lower inflation.
At best, subpar growth looms on the domestic economy’s horizon; at worst, a double-dip is still possible.
It feels like deja vu all over again.
And for those keeping score at home, here’s a handy 2008 vs. 2011 checklist to compare the years side by side.