Tag Archives: interest rates

David Stockman on What an Audit of the Federal Reserve Could Really Reveal

Massive debt at the top of the business cycle is nobody’s idea of good economics, but that’s what the US is doing. From David Stockman at internationalman.com:

Doug Casey’s Note: David Stockman is a former congressman and director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan.

Now, anyone with connections to the government should elevate your suspicion level. But as you’ll see, David is a genuine opponent of government stupidity. Although his heroic fight against the Deep State during the Reagan Administration was doomed, he remains a strong advocate for free markets and a vastly smaller government.

We get together occasionally in the summer, when we’re both in Aspen. He’s great company and one of the few people in this little People’s Republic that I agree with on just about everything. This absolutely includes where the US economy is heading.

I read his letter the Contra Corner every day, and suggest you do likewise.

International Man: Trump is calling for a weaker dollar and negative interest rates. What does this tell you about Trump’s understanding of economics?

David Stockman: It tells you that he has no understanding of economics at all!

I think Trump is not even a primitive when it comes to economic comprehension. His views are just plain stupid when it comes to exchange rates. He seems to think it’s some grand game of global golf, where the strongest player gets the lowest score.

What sense does it make tweeting as he did recently in attacking the Fed?

According to Trump, the US economy is so much better than the rest of the world’s economies, and therefore we should have the lowest interest rate as a result. It has nothing to do with economic logic or with principles related to sound money. I think he’s just thrashing about trying to create a warning that if things go badly, it’s the Fed’s fault.

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Corporate Debt Time Bomb, by Claudio Grass

Rising interest rates and rising credit downgrades pose twin threats to the corporate debt market. From Claudio Grass at lewrockwell.com:

While I have reportedly highlighted the many risks of the current monetary policy direction and the multiple distortions that it has created in the markets, in the economy, and even in society, one of the most pressing dangers of the unnaturally low rates and cheap money is the staggering accumulation of debt. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the ballooning corporate debt, especially in the US. It has been growing so rapidly and for so long, that many investors and analysts eventually got used to it, accepted it as a fact of life, and became desensitized to the immense risk it poses to the economy at large. Now, another crucial milestone has been reached and a red line has been crossed, that will hopefully force market participants to finally heed the many calls for caution and the clear warnings that have been falling on deaf ears for years.

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How Congress and the Federal Reserve Stole Christmas, by Ron Paul

The government spends a lot of money, much of which it has to borrow, and the Fed helpfully suppresses interest rates and buys the government’s debt. It’s a match made in heaven, and it’s destroying the country. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

The bickering over impeachment did not stop the president and Congress from coming together last week to avert a government shutdown by passing a 1.4 trillion dollar spending package.

The bipartisan agreement has something for everyone — a 22 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on militarism to 738 billion dollars, and a 27 billion dollars increase to bring total spending on domestic programs to 632 billion dollars. It also imposes a national ban on selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.

The agreement was split into two bills. Both bills were unveiled last Monday afternoon. The bills passed the House on Tuesday, so only the House leadership and the members of the Appropriations Committee (and their staffs) who helped write the over 2,000-page deal had any idea what was in the bills. But most members voted for the spending bills because they were fearful of backlash over another Christmastime government shutdown. House leadership simply “waived” the rule requiring that all legislation be available at least three days before being voted upon.

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As the Fiscal Doomsday Machine Powers On – Impeach the Congress, Too! by David Stockman

If bringing one’s country to fiscal ruin were an impeachable offense, you’d have to impeach the entire city of Washington. From David Stockman at lewrockwell.com:

On December 16 the gross Federal debt breached a new level to $23.1 trillion, while the net debt after $401 billion of cash weighed in at $22.71 trillion. The latter monstrous figure is notable because on June 30, 2019 it stood at $21.76 trillion.

So what has happened in the last 167 days is a $948 billion increase in the Uncle Sam’s net debt, which amounts to a gain of $5.7 billionper day – including, as we like to say, weekends, holidays and snow days.

Worse still, not a single dollar of that gain got absorbed in government trust funds. The Treasury float held by the public actually rose by $953 billion.

So why in the world do the knuckleheads on bubblevision not understand where the spiking rates and ructions in the repo market came from?

The law of supply and demand is still operative, and the US Treasury is literally flooding the bond pits with new supply. Even at the bottom of the Great Recession, Uncle Sam did not drain $5.7 billion per day from the bond market.

But nary a soul down in the Imperial City has noticed this borrowing eruption at the tippy-top of the business cycle, which now teeters on borrowed time at a record 127 months of age. Instead, this very day the Congress is busily engaged in what is a fair approximation of abolishing the election process at the heart of American democracy.

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The Japanization of the European Union, by Jesús Huerta de Soto

It’s worthwhile reading every single word of this very long article, especially if you have any interest in economics (some people do). From Jesús Huerta de Soto at mises.org:

[Opening lecture at the Twelfth Conference on Austrian Economics organized by the Juan de Mariana Institute and the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, May 14–15, 2019.]

Introduction

The topic of my lecture today is the Japanization of the European Union. I would like to start with an observation Hayek makes in his Pure Theory of Capital. (Incidentally, through Union Editorial, we have just published an impeccable Spanish edition, and I recommend it to all of you.) According to Hayek, the “best test of a good economist” is understanding the principle that “demand for commodities is not demand for labor.” This means that it is an error to think, as many do, that a mere increase in the demand for consumer goods gives rise to an increase in employment. Whoever holds this belief fails to understand the most basic principles of capital theory, which explain why it is not so: growth in the demand for consumer goods is always at the expense of saving and the demand for investment goods, and since most employment lies in the investment stages furthest from consumption, a simple increase in immediate consumption always occurs at the expense of employment devoted to investment and thus net employment.

I would add to this my own test of a good economist: the Professor Huerta de Soto test. According to my criteria, the best test to determine whether we are dealing with a good economist (and I do not mean to detract from Hayek’s test) is whether or not the person understands why it is a grave error to believe the injection and manipulation of money can bring about economic prosperity. In other words, the best test of a good economist according to Professor Huerta de Soto is understanding why the injection and manipulation of money are never the way toward sustainable economic prosperity.

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The Fed’s Answer to the Ghastly Monster of its Creation, by MN Gordon

In politics and central banking, nothing succeeds like failure. The Fed’s answer for the problems its creating is more of the same, only bigger and better. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

The launch angle of the U.S. stock market over the past decade has been steep and relentless.  The S&P 500, after bottoming out at 666 on March 6, 2009, has rocketed up over 370 percent.  New highs continue to be reached practically every day.

Over this stretch, many investors have been conditioned to believe the stock market only goes up.  That blindly pumping money into an S&P 500 ETF is the key to investment riches.  In good time, this conditioning will be recalibrated with a rude awakening.  You can count on it.

In the interim, the bull market may continue a bit longer…or it may not.  But, to be clear, after a 370 percent run-up, buying the S&P 500 represents a speculation on price.  A gamble that the launch angle furthers its steep trajectory.  Here’s why…

Over the past decade, the U.S. economy, as measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), has increased about 50 percent.  This plots a GDP launch angle that is underwhelming when compared to the S&P 500.  Corporate earnings have fallen far short of share prices.

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The Fed Detests Free Markets, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

The Fed is head of the US banking cartel. The last thing it wants is free markets, especially in interest rates and banking risk. Interest rates are to be suppressed, and banking risk socialized. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

To be completely honest, I wrote -most of- the second part of this a while ago, and then I was thinking this first part should be part of the second, if you can still follow me. But it doesn’t really, it’s fine. I wanted to write something to address how little people know and acknowledge about how disastrous central bank policies have been for our societies and economies.

Because they don’t, and they have no clue, largely and simply because of the way central banks are presented both by themselves and by the financial press that covers them. Make that “covers”. Still, going forward, we will have no way to ignore the damage done. All the QE and ZIRP and NIRP will turn out to be so destructive for us all they will rival climate change or actual warfare. That’s what I wanted to talk about.

You see, free markets are a great idea in theory. Or you can call it “capitalism”, or combine the two and say “free market capitalism”. There’s very little wrong with it in theory. You have an enormous multitude of participants in an utterly complex web of transitions, too complex for the human mind to comprehend, and in the end that web figures out what values all sorts of things, and actions etc., have.

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