Tag Archives: central bank policy

The Federal Reserve Is, and Always Has Been, Politicized, by Ron Paul

Fed partisans shriek that any legislative constraints, such as regular audits, will “politicize” the Fed. That’s all window dressing, because everyone knows the Fed is already politicized. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Audit the Fed recently took a step closer to becoming law, when it was favorably reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This means the House could vote on the bill at any time. The bill passed by voice vote without any objections, although Fed defenders did launch hysterical attacks on the bill during the debate as well as at a hearing on the bill the previous week.

One representative claimed that auditing the Fed would result in rising interest rates, a stock market crash, a decline in the dollar’s value, and a complete loss of confidence in the US economy. Those who understand economics know that all of this is actually what awaits America unless we change our monetary policy. Passing the audit bill is the vital first step in that process, since an audit can provide Congress a road map to changing the fiat currency system.

Another charge leveled by the Fed’s defenders is that subjecting the Fed to an audit would make the Fed subject to political pressure. There are two problems with this argument. First, nothing in the audit bill gives Congress or the president any new authority to interfere in the Federal Reserve’s operations. Second, and most importantly, the Federal Reserve has a long history of giving in to presidential pressure for an “accommodative” monetary policy.

The most notorious example of Fed chairmen tailoring monetary policy to fit the demands of a president is Nixon-era Federal Reserve Chair Arthur Burns. Burns and Nixon may be an extreme example — after all no other president was caught on tape joking with the Fed chair about Fed independence, but every president has tried to influence the Fed with varying degrees of success. For instance, Lyndon Johnson summoned the Fed chair to the White House to berate him for not tailoring monetary policy to support Johnson’s guns and butter policies.

To continue reading: The Federal Reserve Is, and Always Has Been, Politicized

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When Money Is “Free,” Discipline Evaporates; When Discipline Evaporates, Decisions Are Disastrous, by Charles Hugh Smith

Another way to put what Charles Hugh Smith is saying here is that when money is free, the expected return on investment goes to the prevailing interest rate, or zero. From Smith at oftwominds.com:

The only possible output of a system lacking any discipline is self-destruction.

Whatever is free is squandered. When water is free, it’s freely wasted. When electricity is free, there’s no motivation to use it wisely.

The same principle holds true for money. If money is free, or nearly free, there is no motivation to invest it wisely, or consider the opportunity costs of spending it versus investing it or preserving it as savings.

Money that can be borrowed for next to nothing is essentially “free” because the costs of interest are negligible. Money that can be borrowed in virtually unlimited quantities is also “free,” as whatever funds are squandered or lost to malinvestment can be easily replaced with more borrowed money.

Nothing enduringly productive can be built without discipline and a steady focus on the bottom line of production costs, revenues, overhead expenses and opportunity costs, i.e. what else could have been done with this capital and labor?

These dynamics are scale-invariant, meaning they apply to individuals and households as well as to companies, institutions and nation-states.

Thus we see the same poor results in trust-funders whose income is “free” (pouring in monthly whether the individual was productive or not) and national governments that can simply borrow another trillion dollars (or $10 trillion, hey why not?) when they’ve squandered all the tax revenues.

We intuitively grasp the necessity of discipline to corral impulses and desires that are self-destructive in the longer term. Eating chocolate cake and ice cream might appeal to our immediate cravings, but longer term the consequences of unbridled consumption of this kind of sweets are dire.

We also grasp the role discipline plays in learning difficult subjects/tasks and in accomplishing long-term, often arduous projects.

To continue reading: When Money Is “Free,” Discipline Evaporates; When Discipline Evaporates, Decisions Are Disastrous

In the Next Few Hours, the Deep State Will Launch Its Revenge on Trump, by Nick Giambruno

Nick Giambruno believes the Deep State will use the Federal Reserve as its agent to prick the financial bubble and exact revenge on President Trump. This article was posted a few hours before the Fed’s rate hike Wednesday. From Giambruno at internationalman.com:

The Deep State is set to prick the largest bubble in human history today…

The Deep State is the permanently entrenched “national security” bureaucracy—the top tier of the military, the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc. It also includes the Federal Reserve, the quintessential Establishment institution.

They all hate President Trump. They did everything possible to stop him from taking office. None of it worked. They fired all of their bullets, but he still wouldn’t go down.

Of course, the Deep State could still try to assassinate Trump. It’s obvious the possibility has crossed his mind. He’s taken the unusual step of supplementing his Secret Service protection with loyal private security.

But for now, anyway, the Deep State’s next move is to pin the coming stock market collapse on Trump. He’s the perfect fall guy.

When people think “Greater Depression,” they’ll think “Donald Trump.”

Right now, the Federal Reserve is the Deep State’s weapon of choice.

The economy has been on life support since the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed has pumped it up with unprecedented amounts of “stimulus.” This has created enormous distortions and misallocations of capital that need to be flushed.

Think of the trillions of dollars in money printing programs, euphemistically called quantitative easing (QE) 1, 2, and 3. Meanwhile, with zero and even negative interest rates in many countries, rates are the lowest they’ve been in 5,000 years of recorded human history.

On top of that, the too-big-to-fail banks are even bigger than they were in 2008. They have more derivatives, and they’re much more dangerous.

If the Deep State wants to trigger a stock market collapse on par with 1929, it just has to pull the plug on the extraordinary life support measures it’s used since the last crisis.

This outcome is already baked in the cake. It’s just a matter of when… and there’s a good chance “when” is today.

To continue reading: In the Next Few Hours, the Deep State Will Launch Its Revenge on Trump

Bond “Carnage” hits Mortgage Rates, Aims at Housing Bubble 2, by Wolf Richter

The relationship between the housing market and higher interest rates isn’t as straightforward as many people think. Sometimes rates rise and the housing market does well for the same reason: the economy is strong. Interest rates probably hit bottom in July, 2016, and have embarked on a long-term rising trend. It remains to be seen how that will affect the housing market. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

“Many fear the Fed is behind the curve. The market is even further behind: This is clearly a dangerous situation.”

US government debt took another beating today. As prices fell, yields rose to new multi-year highs. The 10-year Treasury yield rose 5 points to 2.625%, the highest since September 2014, when it just briefly kissed that level. At this pace, the yield will soon double from the record low of 1.36% in July last year.

This chart shows the progression of the 10-year Treasury yield since late August (chart via StockCharts.com):

When yields were surging maniacally in November and December – broadly called the “bond massacre” or the “bond meltdown” or similar – I pontificated that eventually yields would fall back some, “on the theory that nothing goes to heck in a straight line.” And they did start falling back in mid-December. But that three-month breather has now been totally undone.

Two-year Treasuries took it on the chin too today, and the yield jumped to 1.40%, the highest since June 2009.

To continue reading: Bond “Carnage” hits Mortgage Rates, Aims at Housing Bubble 2

Are We Witnessing The Weirdest Moment In Economic History? by Brandon Smith

2017 has the turbulence potential to make 2016 look normal. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

It is an unfortunate reality that most people tend to be oblivious to massive sea changes in geopolitics and economics. You would think that these events would catch the immediate attention of everyone as they happen, but usually it is not until they realize that the microcosm of their personal lives is subject to the consequences of the macrocosm that they wake up and take notice.

There are, however, ways to train yourself to pick up on signals within the news cycle and within political and financial rhetoric; signals that indicate a great shift is perhaps on the way. Sometimes these initial signs are subtle, sometimes they are as subtle as a feminist slut-walk. I would point out that over the next few months there are dangerous correlations so numerous and blatant in the economic sphere that I would almost rather watch a marching gaggle of frumpy feminists wearing nothing but electrical tape than bear witness to the mayhem that is about to strike the unwitting public.

What am I talking about? Well, let’s go through the list…

Federal Reserve Meeting March 14-15th
As my readers know well, I have been warning since before the election that the Fed would use a Trump presidency as an opportunity to pull the plug on near-zero interest rates and remove a primary pillar supporting stock markets — stock buybacks made possible by free overnight loans to numerous banks and corporations. Without QE and low interest rates the equities bubble will inevitably implode.

Corporate earnings certainly aren’t holding up stocks, neither is GDP or consumer spending. The Fed is the only determining factor of the ongoing bull market. Anyone who claims otherwise is probably a mainstream analyst or overzealous day trader with a vested interest in keeping the illusion going.

To continue reading: Are We Witnessing The Weirdest Moment In Economic History?

 

Janet Yellen’s Shame, by Bill Bonner

The contrast between honest capitalism and inherently dishonest central banking. From Bill Bonner at acting-man.com:

Playing Politics

In honest capitalism, you do what you can to get other people to voluntarily give you money. This usually involves providing goods or services they think are worth the price. You may get a little wild and crazy from time to time, but you are always called to order by your customers.

In the market economy, consumers reign supreme. There is no such thing as a “lost” vote in the marketplace; every penny spent affects production. Mises noted: “Consumers ultimately determine not only the prices of consumers’ goods, but no less the prices of all factors of production. They determine the income of every member of the market economy. The consumers, not the entrepreneurs, ultimately pay the wages earned by every worker, the glamorous movie star as well as the charwoman. With every penny spent, consumers determine the direction of all production processes and the minutest details of the organization of all business activities.”

That is true of honest banking, too. Back when such a thing existed, the job of an honest banker was to aggregate people’s savings and lend them to worthy borrowers. You make too many mistakes, your customers leave and you go broke.

Politics is a different game altogether. It produces no wealth of any sort. So the only way you can prosper in politics is to connive, cheat, and steal – manipulating your friends… sidelining your enemies… and exploiting the public.

It is a game of taking wealth, not making it. And you have no customers, so there’s not much of a check on how out-of-order you can get. Still, a politician is not always lying, not always stealing – and not always wrong. Occasionally, he blunders into honesty and slips into truth.

On Monday, for example, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Fed chief Janet Yellen should be ashamed of herself for what she was doing to Americans and for creating a “false stock market.

US monetary base vs. the S&P 500 Index. Although base money growth has leveled out since 2014, the money supply has continued to grow since then due to commercial bank credit expansion. Since 2008 the broad true US money supply has increased by 128%, and this chart is a reminder that the money didn’t just “print itself”.  A great deal of it was created directly by the Fed, which the rapid growth in base money demonstrates. Newly created money doesn’t affect all prices simultaneously or to the same extent and for a variety of reasons, asset prices are always likely

US monetary base vs. the S&P 500 Index. Although base money growth has leveled out since 2014, the money supply has continued to grow since then due to commercial bank credit expansion. Since 2008 the broad true US money supply has increased by 128%, and this chart is a reminder that the money didn’t just “print itself”. A great deal of it was created directly by the Fed, which the rapid growth in base money demonstrates. Newly created money doesn’t affect all prices simultaneously or to the same extent and for a variety of reasons, asset prices are always likely to be at the top of the list (in other words, the above correlation is not a coincidence)

The financial press was quick to condemn Mr. Trump for “undermining confidence” in the Fed and the stock market. It was “irresponsible” to question the Fed’s integrity and its non-partisan mission, said the pundits.

Widely dismissed was the idea that Ms. Yellen was “playing politics” with the Fed by supporting the stock market to embellish President Obama’s last months in office and help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton slide into the White House after him. But Mr. Trump is right: Politics is the Fed’s game.

 

To continue reading: Janet Yellen’s Shame

 

The Federal Reserve’s Strange Behavior Makes Perfect Sense, by Brandon Smith

What if the Federal Reserve is trying to destroy the American economy? A plausible argument can certainly be made that it is, just from the results of its policies. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

I have made this comment many times in the past, but I think it needs to be stated again here: If you think the Federal Reserve’s goal is to maintain or repair the U.S. economy, then you will never understand why they do the things they do or why the economy evolves the way that it does. The Fed’s job is not to protect the U.S. economy. The Fed’s job is to DESTROY the U.S. economy to make way for a truly global system.

There seems to be a collective delusion within certain parts of the liberty movement that the “globalists” (the banking and political elites that promote total global centralization of finance and power) are a purely American or Western problem, and that they have some kind of loyalty to the success, or perceived success, of the U.S. “empire.” This is nonsensical when you look at the progression of the American fiscal system after the Fed was established over a century ago.

In the past 100 years, the U.S. has suffered a gradual but immense devaluation in the dollar’s real buying power. We witnessed the first long-term fiscal depression in the nation’s history. We saw the removal of the gold standard. We saw the dismantling of the greatest industrial base in the history of the world. We have struggled through the implosion of the derivatives and credit bubble, which Fed officials have openly admitted responsibility for. And now, we are on the verge of the final implosion of a massive equities bubble and the collapse of the dollar itself.

All of these developments require careful planning and staging, not recklessness or random chance. Free-market economies tend to heal and adapt over time. Only constant negative manipulation could cause the kind of steady decline plaguing the U.S. ever since the Federal Reserve was forced into being.

The Fed has had multiple opportunities to strengthen the economic lifespan of America, but has ALWAYS chosen to take the exact opposite actions needed, guaranteeing an inevitable outcome of crisis. The goal of internationalists and international bankers is to acquire ever more centralized authority, and thus, ever more centralized power. The U.S. is an appendage to the great vampire squid, an expendable tool that can be sacrificed today to gain greater treasures tomorrow. Nothing more.

But this reality just does not seem to sink into the skulls of certain people. They simply cannot fathom the idea that the Fed is a saboteur. Not a bumbling greed fueled monster, or even a mad bomber, but a careful and deliberate enemy agent with precise destruction in mind.

Case in point; the recent institution of the Fed rate hike program. No one really gets it and no one is asking the right questions. Why, for example, did the Fed begin raising rates in December? No one asked them to take such measures. Certainly not day traders in the market casino; they were too busy enjoying the fiat inflation of biggest equity bubble in the encyclopedia of humanity. The politicians weren’t demanding any drawback of Fed stimulus, they were too busy enjoying the fraudulent recovery afforded by the recapitalization of too-big-to-fail banks. So, again, why bother promoting rate hikes that are essentially guaranteed to cause a market crisis?

To continue reading: The Federal Reserve’s Strange Behavior Makes Perfect Sense