The Fed will have to increase QE (not taper it) because systemic debt is compounding faster than production and interest rates are already zero-bound. Lee Quaintance noted many years ago that the Fed was holding a burning match. This remains true today (only it is a bomb with a short fuse). Thirteen years after the over-levered US equity market collapsed, eleven years following Bernanke’s speech, five years after the over-levered housing bubble burst, and four years into the necessary onset of global Zero Interest Rate Policies and Long-Term Refinancing Operations, global monetary authorities seem to have run out of new outlets for credit. In real economic terms, central bank policies have become ineffective. In other words, the US is now producing as much new debt as goods and services.
As we enter into the two final months of the year, it is also the beginning of the seasonally strong period for the stock market. It has already been a phenomenal year for asset prices as the Federal Reserve's ongoing liquidity programs have seemingly trumped every potential headwind imaginable from Washington scandals, potential invasions, government shutdowns and threats of default. This leaves us with four things to ponder this weekend revolving around a central question: "Does the Fed's Q.E. programs actually work as intended and what are the potential consequences?"
Gold had a good run for twelve years but has fallen by as much as 20% this year alone. Is that set to continue?
- How much does QE contribute to the growing inequality of wealth in this country and what are the risks this creates?
- How much systemic risk does the Fed create by becoming what Warren Buffett termed “the greatest hedge fund in history”?
- How might the Fed’s expanded balance sheet and its failure to even begin to “normalize” monetary policy four years into the recovery limit its flexibility to deal with the next recession or crisis?
This morning, as part of the US Treasury's report on global currencies, Secretary Lew made the following remark:
- *LEW SAYS JAPAN 'APPEARS TO BE TURNING AN ECONOMIC CORNER'
Which got us thinking... when have we heard the US Treasury say exactly the same thing... (for exactly the same "policy-based" reason)... The answer is 10 years ago!
When will the U.S. labor market start to accelerate? That is the single most critical question for global capital markets, for it speaks directly to both economic growth and Federal Reserve monetary policy. But, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, just as important, however, is the question "Where do people actually want to work?" Nick's key conclusions: there is no evidence of any faster pace of hiring, and the trend of hiring part time labor over full time is both strong (a 3:1 ratio) and accelerating.
Saxo Capital Markets’ latest infographic explores the long-term value of quantitative easing (QE) and, surveying the effect on the US economy, asks whether the US Federal Reserve will ever taper QE.
It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. John Taylor believes this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects.
There's a Monetary Firestorm Coming
Usually what goes up normally ends up coming back down to Earth with a damn great thud. Well, that was long ago with good old Isaac Newton and the apple story.
Gone are the days where people looked towards next year when building their portfolios, or five years down the road as they approach retirement. Now from a combination of apprehensiveness and shear paranoia in our unstable markets, investors are looking only as far as they can throw for their personal investment decisions. In more than 30 years of money management, Lance Roberts has never seen such a rapid change in the way people make financial plans. Instead of saving for the future, many are opting for fast gains - yet at the same time they want low risk. Others are playing it completely safe. In fact, in a quarterly poll, 83% of respondents said they were holding on to their cash versus investing in the stock market.
The status quo is as intellectually bankrupt as it is financially bankrupt. Our leadership cannot conceive of any course of action other than central bank credit creation and expanding state control of the economy and social benefits, paid for with money borrowed from future generations.
How do we get a fundamental change away from this extend-and-pretend which prevails not only in Europe but also the world? History tells us that we only get real changes as a result of war, famine, social riots or collapsing stock markets. None of these is an issue for most of the world - at least not yet - but on the other hand we have never had less growth, worse demographics, or higher unemployment since WWII. This is a true paradox that somehow needs to be resolved, and quickly if we are to avoid wasting an entire generation of youth. Policymakers try to pretend we have achieved significant progress and stability as the result of their actions, but from a fundamental point of view that’s a mere illusion..
Now that the prevailing mainstream media consensus has finally caught up with our "tinfoil" view, which for years was mocked by the same media, usually on an ad hominem basis, and even the Fed has realized (confirmed by the latest Jackson Hole symposium) it is in a trap as it understands it has to end the market's dependency on monetary heroin but has no idea how to do it without in the process undoing five years of central planning, we have seen some spectacular opinion flip flops take place. Which aside from the occasional headscratcher such as David Rosenberg going bull-retard (we once again wonder: just what does Ray Dalio serve in his cafeteria?) have been almost exclusively from optimistic to pessimistic, or as we call it, realistic. And as the case may be, such as with John Mauldin and his latest missive to potential clients, A Code Red World, a very deep and red shade of pessimistic.
This artificial prosperity plan for Wall Street has the added benefit of allowing the captured politicians in Washington D.C. to continue their $1 trillion per year deficit spending with no consequences for their squandering of future generations’ wealth. Bernanke and Yellen will never taper, because they can’t. The Fed balance sheet will continue to grow by at least $1 trillion per year until they crash the financial system again. Except this time, there will be no money printing solution. We are all trapped like rats in this monetary experiment being conducted by evil mad scientists. No one will get out alive. Welcome to the new normal. Now eat your cheese.