Have We Reached Peak Federal Reserve?
Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,
As the Fed-induced asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate follow the inevitable Supernova track to implosion, that we've reached Peak Federal Reserve will be obvious--in hindsight.
Billionaires and political lackeys alike have been falling all over themselves in the rush to praise the Federal Reserve's unprecedented monetary intervention since 2008. That billionaires and political hacks, apparatchiks and toadies cannot laud the Fed's Cargo Cult enough is no surprise: the billionaires and the government that feeds them both gained handsomely from the Fed's policies:
Government spending: up strongly since the Fed began pumping nearly-free credit and ample liquidity.
Corporate profits: soaring to new heights in the Fed-Bubble Era.
S&P 500: new nominal highs for stocks in the Fed-Bubble Era.
But what about the consequences for the non-billionaire, non-government, non-financial real economy?
Monetary base: this is what happens when the Fed creates money out of thin air to buy Treasury bonds and mortgages. Does this look remotely sustainable in the long-term?
Money velocity: in a strong economy, money velocity is high (for example, the mid-1990s) and weak in recessions (for example, 1973, 1982 and 2002). Money velocity has fallen to unprecedented levels, lower than any recession of the past 40 years.
Here's what all that Fed magic (jacking up money supply and lowering interest rates to near-zero) accomplished in terms of wages:
Here is household income, adjusted for inflation since 2000: it's hard to overstate how successful the Fed's policies have been in the real economy; no wonder billionaires and political toadies can't praise the Fed enough. Real household income only fell 7.2% under the Fed's billionaire-politico-friendly policies.
Employment per capita: this is employment adjusted for population growth: back to the levels of the late 1970s.
Full-time employment: all the way up to the same level of 13 years ago, while the U.S. population grew by 28%.
These charts provide ample evidence that we've reached Peak Federal Reserve: its monetary policies (zero interest rate policy--ZIRP, quantitative easing--QE, purchasing $1+ trillion home mortgages to jack up the housing market, etc.) have boosted the fortunes of billionaires and free-spending, easily-bought politicos but left wages and employment to stagnate.
All the Fed's goodies for the billionaires--the assets bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate--have reached the point of "as good as it gets." From here on in, these bubbles have nowhere to go but down. As the Fed-induced asset bubbles follow the inevitable Supernova track to implosion, that we've reached Peak Federal Reserve will be obvious--in hindsight.
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