"We're dealing now in very early days a crisis which has got a way to go. If we went back on the gold standard and we adhered to the actual structure of the gold standard as it exited prior to 1913, we'd be fine. Remember that the period 1870 to 1913 was one of the most aggressive periods economically that we've had in the United States, and that was a golden period of the gold standard."
"This is the worst period, I recall since I've been in public service. There's nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away. I'd love to find something positive to say."
"...financial markets, far from accurately reflecting all the available knowledge, always provide a distorted view of reality. The degree of distortion may vary from time to time. Sometimes it’s quite insignificant, at other times, it is quite pronounced. When there is a significant divergence between market prices and the underlying reality, there is a lack of equilibrium conditions. I have developed a rudimentary theory of bubbles along these lines..."
"The ugly part comes in when thinking about how to exit QE, if at all. Unfortunately I can't help but think of how the Great Depression ended: it was a boost of fiscal spending, all right: the financing of a war... note that increasing military expenditures in the name of national defense may be more easily passed through the legislature in countries without strong majorities than infrastructure spending. Add to that a rise in populist politicians throughout the world, and we have a mix that suggests to me history may well repeat to those unwilling to learn from it."
Fisher’s most telling comment came during the Q&A session when he was asked how his personal portfolio was positioned. Fisher’s response: “In the fetal position.” Moreover, he also said that “all my very rich friends are hoarding cash.”
Mark Yusko pours cold water on whatever bullishly warm feelings the most optimistic folks may have clung to, warning "it's year 2000 all over again." Here are four major parallels he pointed out that make it clear we are heading for another ugly recession—or are already in one without realizing it.
"China and other countries do not want to be in a situation where all their international assets are in effect dependent on the US. Of course the US would not want to renege on its debts, but if some awful conflagration occurred, then all China’s assets in the US might be annulled."
Trump is only a symptom of a far larger problem. The economic conditions that have paved the way for “Trumpism” are really a result of decades of monetary disorder brought to us by central banks. In the 18th century, British economist John Stuart Mill wrote “most of the time the machinery of money is unimportant but when it gets out of control it becomes the monkey wrench in all the other machinery of the economy.” There should have been a second sentence about how the dysfunction of the invisible hands attributable to the monetary disorder endangers political liberalism.
For the second quarter in a row, US worker productivity fell in Q1 (down 0.6% QoQ). Outside of 2015's weather-driven debacle, this is the weakest two quarter tumble in productivity since Q4 2012. Unit labor costs rose 4.5% QoQ in Q1 (revised up from 4.1%) as output actually fell 0.6% (implying a 3.9% rise in compensation). This is the 3rd quarterly drop in output in a row.
Anyone hoping for some clarity on the Fed's next steps from Yellen's speech later today, don't hold your breath. If anything, Yellen will do more of the same, which as BofA summarizes, is the following: "It is fair to say that many clients are a bit confused and frustrated with Fed communication. The Fed seems to be constantly changing its focus from one meeting to the next. They seem to regularly promise hikes, only to back off at the last second."
“And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned... We could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.”
"Entitlements are crowding out savings, and hence capital investment. Capital investment is the critical issue in productivity growth, and productivity growth in turn is the crucial issue in economic growth. We're running to a state of disaster unless we turn this around."