The 2008 Wall Street meltdown is long forgotten, having been washed away by a tsunami of central bank liquidity. Indeed, the S&P closed today up by nearly 200% from its March 2009 low. Yet four cardinal measures of Main Street economic health convey nothing like a 2x pick-up from the post-crisis bottom.
In the Golden Age of the Central Banker it is impossible to distinguish fundamental economic reasons for asset class price movements from politically-driven strategic reasons. When words are used for strategic effect rather than a genuine transmission of information you create a virtual stalking horse. It’s a focus on how something is said as opposed to what is described. It’s a focus on form rather than content, on truthiness rather than truth. It’s why authenticity is as rare as a unicorn in the public world today.
It is quite clear that Bernanke achieved his goal of inflating asset prices by expanding the Federal Reserve's balance sheet by 371.64% since the end of the financial crisis. However, was he as successful in fulfilling his other objectives? The following charts perform the same cost/benefit analysis on real economic health... Did the Fed's monetary intervention programs keep the economy from sliding into a much deeper recession? Probably. Have the programs been effective in achieving Bernanke's stated goals? Not really.
History is replete with the total failure of Central Planning. Whether one look to China or the USSR or the US today, Central Planning has never successfully worked. It creates the illusion of stability in the short-term, but eventually the truth comes out: that it is a TERRIBLE means of deploying capital (both human or monetary).
August gold GCQ14 and September silver SIU14 contract purchases spiked the exact moment Malaysia Airlines reported MH17 missing. Coincidence or tragedy profiteering? You decide.
Furious money printing by the world’s major central banks is not generating real growth and prosperity - but professional economists never seem to get the word.
Ssshh... The trade only works if everyone is lulled into staying on the long side until it's too late.
Financial markets are complex in normal times. When government is actively supporting them, they only become more so and more dangerous. If today’s financial markets were rated like movies, they would be rated “R” (perhaps, “X”). Whether the “R” stands for risky or restricted is immaterial.
It started as a discussion about the reality of inflation versus propagandized "noise" and devolved into what is possibly Rick Santelli's most epic rant.
Maybe its time for a new version of the old regime at the Fed. That is, for the Eccles Building to eschew interest rate-pegging and ZIRP entirely, and thereby allow financial markets to once again engage in honest price discovery and two-way trading; and to allow the natural business cycle to meander along its own capitalist path as determined not by the 12 members of the monetary politburo, but the 317 million consumers, producers, investors, entrepreneurs and even speculators who comprise the real main street economy.
Forget irrational exuberance; ignore exorbitant privilege; dismiss the idea that The Fed's actions are for Main Street not Wall Street... the following image says everything you need to know about "the recovery"...
This is not "different times", the system's low volatility will be replaced by higher volatility, the zero bound leads to bubbles by definition unless you of course believe in eternity and most importantly, mean-reversion and compounding remains the two most powerful tools in finance. It feels like an eternity since the market last traded like a real market, but make no mistake, exactly when you think more of the same is destined to be your strategy, things do change despite the feeling of infinity.
It is fortunate that Paul Krugman writes a column for New York Times readers who want the party line sans all the economist jargon and regression equations. So here is the plain English gospel straight from the Keynesian oracle: The US economy is actually a giant bathtub which is constantly springing leaks. Accordingly, the route to prosperity everywhere and always is for agencies of the state - especially its central banking branch - to pump “demand” back into the bathtub until its full to the brim. Simple.
"The system we have now is one in which the Fed decides, through a Politburo of planners sitting in Washington, how much liquidity is necessary, what the interest rate should be, what the unemployment rate should be, and what economic growth should be. There is no honest pricing left at all anywhere in the world because central banks everywhere manipulate and rig the price of all financial assets. We can’t even analyze the economy in the traditional sense anymore because so much of it depends not on market forces, but on the whims of people at the Fed."
Tomorrow, Americans will celebrate their independence from an over-taxing tyrant by eating and drinking to excess - and rightly so. However, what many will find as they pile into their friendly local grocer (Costco), is that the price of the July 4th smorgasbord has never (ever) been higher (as perhaps, just perhaps, another tyrannical entity - the Fed - has taxed them in a much more pernicious manner). Ground beef burgers have never been more expensive (+16.5% from last year)... and nor has white bread, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, ice cream, and chips...