At the end of the day there is a considerable irony. The Fed has now become the tool of liberal Keynesian do-gooders - exemplified by the school marm who heads it. But its policies are exclusively benefiting Wall Street and the top 1%. They are redistributing income and wealth to the top, not the bottom of society as liberals have always claimed. Needless to say, main street does not need that kind of “help”. And it would do far better on its own hind legs if the monetary politburo joined its Soviet colleagues in the afterlife of mistaken ideologies.
Does it really take purportedly intelligent people six years to see that the macros are not responding? Better still, isn’t it time for the Fed to explain the exact channel by which its interest rate pegging and forward guidance is supposed to be transmitted to the main street economy? After all, if these channels are blocked or ineffective - then its flood of liquidity never leaves the canyons of Wall Street. In that event, the central bank actually functions as a financial doomsday machine, inflating the next financial bubble until it bursts. Then, apparently, its job is to rinse and repeat.
Janet Yellen noted that everything was awesome and that stocks were now slightly "on the high side" of their historical range. It appears no one showed her the Russell 2000 which has a valuation multiple of just about 90x LTM earnings (as reported by the 2000 companies which comprise the index, and which were certified as accurate by 4,000 CEOs and CFOs on penalty of jail time). The mystery of how the Fed remains so stubbornly bubble blind - just like it did during the dotcom and housing bubbles - is thus revealed. The self-evident reason is that the purported geniuses who comprise our monetary politburo drink the Wall Street Cool-Aid about forward ex-items EPS. The Fed is driving a two-ton bubble machine, but has no clue that it has become a financial death trap.
Janet’s Yellen’s pettifogging today about her patient lack of impatience was downright pathetic. Her verbal hair-splitting is starting to make medieval ritual incantations sound coherent by comparison. But unlike the financial media’s dopey dithering about “dot plots”, Yellen at least has something to hide behind all the gibberish. Namely, she and her merry band of money printers are becoming more petrified each month that they will trigger a thundering Wall Street hissy fit if they move to “normalize” interest rates - even as they are slowly beginning to realize that continuance of ZIRP much longer will only intensify the market’s addiction to rampant speculation, free money carry trades and the associated risks to financial stability.
What we have here is another powerful case of the Great Immoderation. That is, the havoc that the Fed’s bubble finance policies have visited upon the main street economy. In short, in the name of improving upon the alleged instability of the private economy - absent the Fed’s expert ministrations - the geniuses in the Eccles building have actually caused the rate of housing starts to gyrate wildly. To wit, by a factor of 5X from top to bottom - so far this century.
- Dollar at 12-year peak versus euro, emerging markets spooked (Reuters)
- CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days (Reuters)
- Draghi Urged Greece to Allow Troika Back Before It’s Late (BBG)
- Brent crude dips below $58 on strong dollar and supply (Reuters)
- Credit Suisse replaces CEO Dougan with Prudential's Thiam (Reuters)
- More "distressed" energy M&A: Verisk buys Wood Mackenzie for £1.85bn (FT)
- Prepare for a surge in defaults: Investors Are Buying Stocks and Bonds From Energy Producers Amid Oil Price Drop (WSJ)
- Private equity executive ordered to pay £72m to ex-wife (FT)
- Democratic donors unfazed by Hillary Clinton's use of private email (Reuters)
- Expensive Hepatitis C Medications Drive Prescription-Drug Spending (WSJ)
- 'ISIS Hackers' Almost Certainly Not ISIS Hackers (NBC)
Unfortunately, industrialists and bankers who reshaped schooling to serve their needs during the Industrial Revolution have transformed institutional academia into the rote memorization of many facts and have rotated it away from real learning that trains the mind to think.
Greenspan started the destructive Keynesian tradition of pumping liquidity to stimulate the economy, and this tradition has created significant economic pain for Main Street in the form of long-term unemployment and underemployment, reduced wages, foreclosures, bankruptcies, reduced savings rates, shuttered businesses, and drained savings and retirement accounts. So, “Mr. Bubble” inferring that the Fed creates unsustainable bubbles for the benefit of Main Street is pretty insulting.
Once upon a time businesses borrowed long term money - if they borrowed at all - in order to fund plant, equipment and other long-lived productive assets. Today American businesses are borrowing like never before - to fund financial engineering maneuvers such as stock buybacks, M&A and LBOs, not the acquisition of productive assets that can actually fuel future output and productivity.
Let’s see. The Eccles Building has grown its balance sheet by 9X since the turn of the century, but real net investment in the business sector has plunged by 33%!
To be sure, we’ve written quite a bit lately about the ECB’s upcoming plunge into the world of 13-figure debt monetization (or as we call it, Draghi’s Waterloo), and while we hate to beat a dead horse, the sheer lunacy of a bond buying program that is only constrained by the fact that there simply aren’t enough bonds to buy, cannot possibly be overstated. Here is everything you need to know about Q€ ahead of the ECB's Thursday meeting.
"The Fed is out of control," exclaims David Stockman - perhaps best known for architecting Reagan's economic turnaround known as 'Morning in America' - adding that "people don't want to hear the reality and the truth that we're facing." Policymakers are "taking our economy in a direction that is dangerous, that is not sustainable, and is likely to fully undermine everything that's been built up and created by the American people over decades and decades." The Fed, Stockman concludes, "is a rogue institution," and their actions have led us to "one of the scariest moments in our history... it's a festering time-bomb and we're not sure when it will explode."
The average American benefited in no way from the government/banker bailout. Their wages have deteriorated, their daily living expenses have risen, Obamacare has resulted in higher healthcare premiums, higher co-pays, more part-time jobs, less full-time jobs, and less healthcare choices for the working class, while Wall Street generates billions in risk free profits, bankers and corporate executives reap massive million dollar bonuses, and the .1% parties like its 1999. Rising wealth inequality has been systematically programmed into our economic system by bankers and their bought off puppet politicians in Washington D.C. – Corporate fascism at its finest.
Another quarter of no “escape velocity” on main street and a further round of Kool Aid drinker speculation on Wall Street takes us just that much closer to the brink. Yet the Fed remains oblivious and continues to manufacture excuses and equivocations as to why ZIRP should extend into its 80th month and beyond. This is mis-governance on a colossal scale. So when the next thundering crash occurs - it is devoutly to be hoped that “audit the Fed” turns out to be the least of the threats descending on the Eccles Building.
Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn’t care much for democratic oversight. She’s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn’t operating a private railroad company. She’s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it’s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.