There has been an economic coup d’état in America and most of the world. We are now ruled by about 200 unelected central bankers, monetary apparatchiks and their minions and megaphones on Wall Street and other financial centers. Unlike Senator Joseph McCarthy, we actually do have a list of their names. They need to be exposed, denounced, ridiculed, rebuked and removed.
"We learned one thing yesterday: the U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same position as the rest of us when it comes to forecasting the future path of economic growth. Nobody really “Knows” anything right now. Now, there’s enough doubt for everyone: markets, central banks, consumers, governments. Everyone. The best thing we can say about that: if markets accept that the Fed is no better informed than they are, maybe investors will devote more time to stock fundamentals and intrinsic value analysis."
The global economy has had its artificial boom and CapEx frenzy already and years of deflationary liquidation and correction lie ahead. Money printing has failed. Any effort by the central banks to double down on another $20 trillion of bond purchases would blow the world’s financial casinos sky high. Contemporary central bankers function like a team of monetary wranglers, herding the retail cattle toward the asset gathers. At the end of the day, the asset gathers will profoundly regret what they are clamoring for.
“To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious, but the stupid have an answer for everything.” ~Edward Abbey
Charles Gave: "I Cannot Remember A Time When Less Thinking Has Ever Been Done In The Financial Markets"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2015 09:48 -0500
"What I find most hilarious is that some serious commentators have been pontificating at considerable length about what the market’s participants think. These days, some 70% of market orders are generated by computers, and many of the rest by indexers. And computers do not think... I cannot remember a time when less thinking has ever been done in the financial markets, which is why I find today’s financial markets infinitely boring."
- Charles Gave
Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan were the Elvis and Beatles of this movement – the first to see widespread fame for their efforts. Then came Ben Bernanke, perhaps the Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin of his day, taking existing tools and pushing them in new, previously unconsidered, directions. Now, we have Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi, whose legacies are as yet undefined. They may end up like the next generation of rock stars from the 1970s – something like Bruce Springsteen, with a deep focus on common people in his music. Or, they could be the Bee Gees, who focused simply on commercial success. Only time will tell.
The lack of fear in risky assets is another way of saying that risk premia have been low, or as we also like to put it, that complacency has been high. Not fully appreciative of this inherent risk, it seems many investors have refrained from rebalancing their portfolios, and bought the dips instead. We believe the Fed’s efforts to engineer an exit from its ultra-low monetary policy should get risk premia to rise once again, that if fear should come back to the market, volatility should rise, creating headwinds to ‘risky’ assets, including equities. That said, this isn’t an overnight process, as the ‘buy the dip’ mentality has taken years to be established. Conversely, it may take months, if not years, for investors to shift focus to capital preservation, i.e. to sell into rallies instead.
What should the rational investor do in an environment of ongoing financial repression? If you wanted to trigger a bank run, this is certainly how you might go about it.
Janet Yellen’s astonishing letter to the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, is a sign that the central bank is panicking over the fact that Congress is unhappy with the job it has been doing.
Greenspan’s phony disinflation success led to the Fed’s embrace of fully mobilized and massively intrusive monetary policy in the guise of the Great Moderation and the wealth effects theory of financial asset levitation. In due course, Greenspan’s self-aggrandizing but purely experimental forays of massive central bank intrusion in the financial markets were supplanted by the hard-core Keynesian model of Bernanke and Yellen. Alas, they operated under the grand illusion that a domestic wage and price spiral would tell them when the domestic GDP bathtub was filled to the full employment brim, and therefore when to lift their foot from the monetary accelerator. It never happened, and they never did. The era of Lite Touch monetary policy was by now ancient history.
There is “a barbarous relic” in our global monetary system. It is the U.S. dollar: the worthless, monetary relic of an empire in decline.
On Wednesday morning a new national poll revealed that 54% of Americans rate the economy as 'poor', but instead of focusing oin that, Becky Quick quizzed Marco Rubio about his 'lack of bookkeeping skills,' Carl Quintanilla posed questions about homosexuality and fantasy football, and the astonishingly incompetent John Harwood expressed doubt about Donald Trump's 'moral authority.' The interaction between the candidates and the CNBC moderators revealed the yawning gap between the bubble world at the intersection of Washington and Wall Street and the hard scrabble reality of economic stagnation and political alienation on main street America.
Paul Volcker announced his intention to squeeze inflation out of the system soon after he became Fed chairman. Too bad he didn’t save a better system. Not many men can resist the appeal of free money. Americans proved they were no better at it than others. Falling interest rates and the paper dollar gave them a way to impoverish themselves – by spending money they hadn’t earned. They took the opportunity offered to them. They borrowed and spent... and drove the entire world forward at a furious pace. But now that stage is over.
We think the market may have gotten ahead of itself, accepting the narrative that the Fed will raise rates as many other countries ease. We believe the market is gradually realizing that the Fed is far less flexible than it hoped it would be, thus causing a re-pricing of expectations. We don't think this will necessarily change the Fed's "desire" to pursue an exit. This re-pricing of expectations may have profound implications for the U.S. dollar, and with it, the price of gold.
"Mainstream America with their 401Ks are in a similar pickle. Expecting 8-10% to pay for education, healthcare, retirement or simply taking an accustomed vacation, they won’t be doing much of it as long as short term yields are at zero. They are not so much in a pickle barrel as they are on a revolving spit, being slowly cooked alive while central bankers focus on their Taylor models and fight non-existent inflation."