Friday Night Irony: According To The Fed, Just Over One More Year Of ZIRP Will Lead To 38.36% Annual Inflation

Tyler Durden's picture

Everywhere you look these days, it seems that ZIRP, or the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy, is the panacea to all the world's problems. In fact, ask any tenured economy Ph.D. what inflation is and you will get a stare down, be told you are a moron, that banks need to print more, more, more and that we are really roiling in deflation, with some latent mumblings about buying their economics textbook for the inflationary price of $124.95. Everywhere, that is except the Fed itself. Because in an extremely ironic twist, it is none other than the San Francisco Fed, which operates the "Be Fed chairman for a day" simulation, where you try to keep both unemployment and inflation within the "price stabeeleetee" barriers, that reveals the reality of ZIRP. The laughter really begins when one recreates precisely what the Fed is doing: namely the policy of Zero Interest Rates, now well in its third year, that things take a turn for the surreal. We challenge any reader to play the Fed simulation game, and to do what Bernanke has done: namely lock the Fed Funds rate at the legal minimum: between 0.00% and 0.25%. In our personal experience, we were dismissed as Fed Chairman after annual inflation literally went off the charts and hit 38.36% following 4 years of ZIRP. And according to the Fed, inflation would now, 2.5 years into ZIRP, realistically be running at about 17%. Which incidentally is exactly where it is, at least for those who have not mutated sufficiently to be able to metabolize iPads and fly to and from work using their own pair of wings. Of course, every hyperinflation has a silver lining: US unemployment will be just 1.5%. Granted everyone will be making pitchforks and rope, but they would be employed.

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bigmikeO's picture

Dang, I'm first and don't really have anything interesting to say except how much I love ZH. I even check it before The Drudge Report now - that says something.

Thank you, Tyler!

sqz's picture

Addictive game.

But doesn't show you anything about the money supply, though you could infer something about the velocity. Given you start from an "optimum" condition, you therefore don't know what gaps your policy is trying to fill.

As the expression goes, the only way to win is not play!

Or, you could do everyone a favor, and accept an upper bound of 2% inflation is arbitrary instead focussing on how close you can get to full employment without inflation accelerating! Yeah, I went and said it: why don't we do Employment Targetting instead? :)

The Monkey's picture

What do you trust? A simulator made by some egghead, or 2 decades of ZIRP experience from Japan?

sqz's picture

If you're at ZIRP, you're already screwed, i.e. there are no good options. There's a reason its called a ZIRP Trap and why even the most monetarist of central bankers avoid it like the plague. At this bound, the full horror of why debt means inflation and inflation means debt is revealed, while the specter of deflation is chasing you further into the trap.

That said, one huge difference compared to the West doing ZIRP and the Japanese ZIRP is we don't wait around until deflation actually hits us in the face before starting to use other monetary tools. Neither do we stop using these tools the second we get back to zero or a tiny bit of inflation. Helicopter Ben, Moody Mervyn and Super Mario are all trying with varying degrees of effort to tick off all the boxes for non-Japanese Lost Decade experience. Of course, this expertise of deferring problems into the future ultimately means we crunch into the brick wall of unsustainable debt that much faster, if nothing else changes.


Slow motion train wreck or just train wreck.  

iDealMeat's picture

This whole thing is simple.

CDO: = Collateralized Debt Obligation

Say what you want. but the "C" in CDO is collateral and
Collateral = assets..  period.

The "C" of CDO = Collateral = Assets, in all forms.

All Assets of "CDOs" are at best Losing value.
At worst = 0 (zero).

So, whatever your game is..  You buy a CDS. (insurance)..

CDS = Credit Default Swap

Now.. if you're a Primary Dealer you leverage your CDOs 50x and
hedge them with a CDS..

But, your CDO is based on fictional value..... You know that..
Your trading partners know that..

So, EVERY, Primary Dealer  bundles CDO's, Hedges with another
Primary Dealer, that backs it with a CDS...

Both are are worthless..

..A complete Cluster Fuck.. or circle jerk..

Sovereign Nation or Individual.

Everything else is just noise..

game over.

Pinto Currency's picture


The inflation fire is well and truly started in the wooden trestle that is our economy.  Problem is we are sitting on top.


New meaning for the golden parachute.


Consumer goods price inflation is 12% :


We've been had.

Caviar Emptor's picture

We sure have. Been had. And no sign of any improvement any time soon

jeff montanye's picture

where else but at zero hedge?  bravo.  the last line is very sweet.

AldousHuxley's picture

Here is another irony:


NYPD arresting a police captain Ray Lewis of the Philadelphia PD


warning he might be arrested:


he gets arrested as he predicted:'s picture

He blows it in the first 15 seconds when he says that in order to make corporations impotent someone (the government I suppose) must "control every transaction." Select corporations are powerful because the government already controls so much of the economy and gives preferential treatment to those select corporations.

The way to get power back into the hands of the 99% is to stop government from interfering in every transaction so that individuals can make their way in the world without being held back and slapped down by the corporatist elite.

Does this guy have even the slightest idea about what he is suggesting when he says that "every transaction" must be controlled? Will that make us freer or richer or anything other than slaves?

Totentänzerlied's picture

You've just described at least half of the 'Occupy' crowd. They're not outraged on principle at "the system" (the government-corporate apparatus) as such (though they make loud noises to that effect). They're mad that their interests aren't getting the nice fat cuts of public largesse that the financial sector (or whoever) is perceived (perhaps rightly) to be getting. The morality of the system is only in question as it applies to someone else.

It's not "Stop, thief!", it's "Stop, thief! I demand a cut of the loot!"

This - society's various groups bickering over from whom to steal next and in what amount -  is democracy in a microcosm.

And don't doubt for one second that this guy is entirely sincere and truly believes more control is the solution. Or that he's not in the minority.

Taku's picture

Second picture makes my blood boil.

Just a hint. She ain't al-kai-yei-da.

If a protester treated an officer like that, the response would be immediate and harsh (even rightfully).

Yet, if an officer treats a girl like this, it's OK? Hint: this gal is not the worst threat to society.

And just look at how she responds. 

Officers, maybe look into oh, y'know, the actual corrupt in power before you mess up our youth??

Have the balls to do that? I mean, y'know, actually carry out justice against the corrupt, powerful criminals?

Ball's in your court.

You only live once.

You tell the rest of us what justice means to you.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

You tell the rest of us what justice means to you.

Criminal justice, and more of it to the "1%" and their private army. Social justice? Take a hike with that ill defined and malleable pipe dream. The Community Organizer in Chief has granted indulgence to Corzine and thus set the bar so low as to be a trip hazard. Mathematics must trump wishes, because after "eat the rich" there inevitable follows the period where the sport changes to identification of the "useless eater" participants.

chubbar's picture

You are only confused because you are spelling it wrong. Try Just US and then you might get some insight as to the problem.

AldousHuxley's picture

After bouncing around from 0% to 19% quarter to quarter I managed to have 1.6% inflation and 3.48% unemployment but I was still dismissed!



Taku's picture

With numbers like that, you're a threat to the bernank et al. Totally unacceptable..

AldousHuxley's picture

It took about 6 months with 19% Fed rate with 10% unemployment to bring down 2% inflation to 0%.


looks like once inflation goes out of control you need opposite of ZIRP....DDIRP (Double Digit Interest Rate Policy)


TruthInSunshine's picture

Long live Zero Hedge; one of the very few places in the world that allows those who are awake or wish to awaken to truth & reality, to bypass the bullshit spewed by the 6 corporations that own all U.S. Mainstream Media sources (and most of those in Europe as well), and that have all sold their 'journalism as a vocation and institution of society' souls to the devil, and that merely now serve as proxy mouthpieces for the governmental lies du jour, perpetually, exceedingly rarely challenging any statement, allegation, proclamation or other propaganda put forth by government sources or departments, and NEVER actually doing any real work, including but not limited to dissecting and analyzing the already constructed and conveniently packaged data on things such as 'official inflation,' 'official unemployment,' 'official debt,' etc. etc., that they are all too happy to receive from the Ministry of Truth and then repeat, verbatim, to the sheeple on cable news stations, network television, radio and in newspapers across the land.

Is it any wonder that the U.S. and so many 'developed' nations are crumbling, with dumbed down students, a public fed a diet of complete lies and tortured statistics (in an attempt to control the water temperature, to ensure the frogs don't leap from the pot before being slowly boiled, and to ultimately try and retain as much CONfidence from as many sheeple as possible to keep the Ponzi going for as long as possible, kick the can style).

But we should all be OPTIMISTIC, because for the first time in a long time, if ever, many of us are seeing more and more former sheeple truly waking up to the Main Stream Media incompetence/corruption, criminality of CONgress, excesses and deceit of what is now a unitarian/empire-like Executive Branch (complete with executive orders and signing statements that have either de facto or de jure force of acts of legislation, which is allegedly something reserved exclusively for CONgress), and especially, the deceit and schemes of the Federal Reserve 'Bank,' in as transparent a view as I can ever recall, thanks to smart and honest people scrutinizing the Ponzi and the media parroting of the lies and disinformation, and then taking the time, energy and initiative to prove how the lies are constructed and how the data is tortured, and who finally break it all down and explain it for the absolute scam and ruse that it all is.

We get the government (and media) that we deserve. For the first time in my life, I'm awakening each day to find a greater number of people realizing how badly they're being lied to, at every level, from nearly every 'respected' source, about nearly everything that affects their families, their children, their friends and their neighborhoods.

Velocity is on our side. For the skeptics amongst us, I ask them to think of what the public stream of consciousness looked like a mere decade ago compared to what shape it has taken today, and to try and deny the basic truth that far more people are awakening to what can be accurately called the Matrix of Delusion that has been actively foisted upon them.

The Main Stream Media is dying a little bit more with each passing day and on a consistent and irreversible process, and fewer people trust anything the government or its multitudes of agencies have to proclaim (whether directly or indirectly, through proxy puppets in the media), and the people are deserving of far better than the outright lies, distortions and deceit that they're getting.

Popo's picture

Did anyone at the Fed even bother to play this game and plug in historic Fed policy?

This is hilarious.   Actual historic policy results in a dismissal.  LOLOLOL.


LeBalance's picture

David Rockefeller - Baden Baden, Germany 1991 (meeting of the Bilderberg Group:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years."

"It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."

DarkWanderer01's picture


I would like to know the source of this quote.


Dabale arroz a la zorra el abad's picture

It is true that there are beginning to be many people who, thanks to the Internet, manage to access some more immediate sources of nearer-the-truth information. The question is: how representative are we?

Tomorrow there are general elections here in Spain, where I live, and I am pretty sure the conservative party (PP) will win, with absolute majority. Here we also have a strong two-party system (not as strong as in USA, however). Anyway, that the PP manages to win (or its "alternative" PSOE) means that most of the people really have not awaken. That still most of the people do not decide to vote for really alternative parties, which do exist, means that they are still blinded by the still quite effective mainstream media. I don't mean by that that just voting really alternative parties will solve our problems. I'd say that is a necessary but not sufficient step.

What would be sufficent, I don't know, because I'm pretty sure also that if a really alternative party, not coopted by The Powers That Be, bankers, etc, managed to come to power, suddenly there would be one of these coloured revolutions or youth movement so convenient for the elites that would enable them to regain power. But maybe there is hope: Iceland still hasn't been invaded or bombed, and apparently they are following a really different path than ours.

XitSam's picture

Does anyone remember how they found Zero Hedge? I don't, but I can say it has been one of my alarm clocks.

Think for yourself's picture

A bit more than 2 years ago I'd think (took me a while to register myself), was already woken up to the political/MSM side of the matrix but I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole went on the economical side and in the merger of these as a cohesive whole used to steer and shape their hegelian dialectic.
I think it was a link on - my favorite alt news website along with ZH.

Melin's picture

It's like having a front row seat to watch the conflagration. 


AldousHuxley's picture

zerohedge is the consciousness of the global braintrust.


While rest of the populace took the blue pill and living the illusion by watching "reality" shows on TV and taking drugs to escape reality (alcohol, drugs, religion, hollywood, etc.) ....just at the matrix has been programmed.


We are the few who took the red pill to follow the rabbit hole to see how far it goes. We chose to be here despite the societal systems design whereby 99.9% of the test subject chose denial. We are the anomally the system must now exterminate for we have found out how the world works.


But truth hurts, but we keep coming back for more. There is a slight hope in all of us in thinking that world can be different. Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness."

Diet Coke and Floozies's picture

Know thy self. Nothing will change because of human nature. If you try to fight your nature, you will lose. Even in a systemic collapse, the system will be reborn, just renamed and in a different form. Make peace with it. The names change, but not the system, tis' the nature of humans. Utopian dreams will fail due to human nature and free will. (Venus project == No crime. LOL never going to happen unless their are NO LAWS. Justice and morality are subjective)

Oh, and you don't have to be exterminated just because you see the way the world works; only if you choose to act against it will the system defend itself. Sometimes, you don't have to like it, you just have to do it... Perpetual joy in life is not an entitlement. Where else in the universe can you have this much fun!

AldousHuxley's picture

To know thy self, one must desire to know.


Elites will be in power as long as they can play keep the desire stashed away with enough carrots.


In the long run, world will be a better place if you look at last 2000 years of human history...elites used to believe earth was flat and constitution writers didn't think black slaves were even men....but no pain no gain.....we shall overcome.

Diet Coke and Floozies's picture

What if the elites run out of carrots? The elite will sacrifice anyone else before themselves; again it is in their human nature. We can not litigate resource constraints away any better than we can litigate human nature away. Once that affects basic human needs, human nature will take over and we will fight like cats in a sack. We already do it trying to get easy oil right now. Technology has raised the stakes as well. Greed may be the destruction of the spieces, due to WMD technologies. We may not overcome if we kill overselves trying to make the gain. Hope for the best, plan for the worst?

Melin's picture

My friend asked, "Are we going to be the generation that lets freedom die?"  I said, "Our great grand-parents tossed freedom with both hands.  We've never tasted it. We just might be the generation to bring it back tho." 

Government is force.  That force is supposed to only be used against one who has initated force or fraud against another individual, and to protect the nation as a whole.  Our government rulers believe their job is to "manage" the economy.  That is not their job and everyone who clamors for more regulation is either misinformed or hoping to use government force to loot you. 

Free men succeed or fail based on their ability and their honor.  Trade with those you trust.  There are far more honorable people than dishonorable, imo.  Inserting the government between every transaction is inserting the potentional for corruption into every transaction.

We've got a lot of government whittlin' to do to before we can claim to be free. 

Separate Economy and State

AgShaman's picture

Perhaps we should work on a name change substitution....scratch the "Primary" and insert "Death"....for a more realistic definition of what these ponzi enablers are all about.

That way we can have only 4 or 5 years of ZIRP....instead of 7 or 8....and just cut to the chase and get on with it.

Maybe some sheep will even get triggered awake by your name change and see what's waiting for them in the near future.

"Death Dealers".....ahh...catchy 'Underworld' belly of the beast ring to it.

Heck it could be fun...Start a game of Domino Death guessing March Madness winners. Have Tyler bracket up the remaining 21 and bet on which ones make it to the Final Four. Set up a prize for those that guess correctly (A Caddyshack hat....can of of bullets...ya know, sumpin' useful)

James T. Kirk's picture

If collateral is valued at "mark to market," its value is still measured by Monopoly money. If collateral is valued at mark to model, the fantasy value is still expressed by Monopoly money. What a choice. Insanity or insanity squared. I like my morning Starbucks with room for cream and acid, thank you.

Threeggg's picture


I did this write up to understand the CDS market. What do you think......pretty close description for us dummies to understand ?

Here is the CDS problem in basic-basic: Using a house as an example and this is a conversation to understand the problems that we are facing.

(we will nickname you joe sixpack = J6)

J6 wants to buy a 100K house, so J6 goes to Joe banker and says hey Joe can you lend me a 100K to buy this house. Joe says sure J6 here is your 100K you can pay me back over time with interest.

Then Joe gets back from the closing and says to himself, Hey "what if J6 doesn't pay me back, I will be out a 100K. So, Joe calls Allstate and talks to Al the broker and says, "Hey Al, I want to buy a 100K insurance policy incase J6 doesn't pay me back. Al says sure Joe here is your 100K default insurance policy (CDS). Then after Al gets off the phone with Joe, Al says to himself "wait a minute" "what if Joe doesn't pay me back" and Al quickly calls jerry at AIG and says hey jerry I need an insurance policy for 100K incase  Joe doesn't pay me back. Jerry says sure Al here is you CDS for 100K incase Joe the banker doesn't pay you. Then Jerry gets off the phone with Al and says "wait a minute" "What if Al doesn't pay me back and then he quickly calls Zurich and talks to Chad and says "hey Chad" "I need to purchase a 100K policy against Al not paying incase J6 defaults on his mortgage. Chad says here you go Jerry a 100K CDS for you and then Chad says to himself "hey wait a see where this is going.

So, let’s say this goes 20 CDS contracts deep. So what we have is 2,000,000 dollars worth of credit default swaps written on a 100K depreciating asset that is now only worth 60K. Now the leverage went from 20 to 33 because of the deflation in the housing prices. (That’s why there is no mark-to-market)

Now J6's employer just called and is laying J6 off "permanently".

The problem is now that the financial institutions that wrote all these CDS's (a ton of American banks) were only required to have a 6% reserve on this 100K worth of exposure (each). So, you see the money does not even exist-yet (our anti deflationary kryptonite backstop and tribute to JS for the saying "QE to infinity") to pay these claims and all these entities must be bailed out to stop the contagion before wiping out everybody.

I used a house as an example and it actually "is" a "physical" asset. Most of the CDS's are written against debt (paper, but classified as an asset on balance sheets with "no" underlying physical nothing) Here is where the problems lay. It's the reserve of 6% that is the problem. Let’s take our old friend JPM that has a leveraged balance sheet of 44 to 1. If they are in the wrong chain position on the CDS loop and let's say that they have to pay out 5x of that leverage but only receive 2x of the leverage back. ???????????????????

Where does the money come from to pay that net 3x's exposure? (it does not exist...yet, remember the 44 to 1 leverage) hence the bailouts to keep this thing from going full balls out.

There it is, and it's called "Contagion"


iDealMeat's picture

One PD's "Asset" is another PD's debt. CDS's hedging synthetic CDO's.

The Monkey's picture

It took a few years post-bust for wholesale CPI deflation to manifest in Japan. It will here too.

kaiserhoff's picture

Agreed, but we should be specific.  The other side is vague and stupid.

ZIRP makes it almost impossible for the banks to make legal, ethical profits, but they are expected to grow their way out of their bad debt problems.

ZIRP is a debt trap because it forces banks, pension funds, hedge funds etc. to borrow short and finance long, at very low rates, exactly what killed the S & Ls.

ZIRP kills pensions, savers, widows and orphans, and makes projections for small business, real estate, etc. all but impossible.


End the Fed and proceed to ignore the bald guy at your leisure.

azusgm's picture

Twice in the past few days, the term "debt revulsion" has popped up. The first time was in the Hugh Hendry interview at the London School of Economics. Hendry made the assertion that the Great Depression was a period of debt revulsion that began in 1929 and lasted 40 years. Then we had a cycle of credit expansion. Now we appear to be entering another cycle of debt revulsion.

He makes his remark starting a bit after the 3:00 mark and ending around 4:00.

Yesterday, Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns used the term in his article on deleveraging and sovereign debt crises.

Professor Elliot Rosen, the author of "Roosevelt, the Great Depression, and the Economics of Recovery" asserted that it was the massive increase in industrial productivity, not our involvement in the war, that pulled this nation out of the Great Depression.  (for those who enjoy book talks by authors).

I'm waiting for Bernanke to manage to print his way to $200/bbl oil. The Chinese slave wage arbitrage will break down as the cost of bunker fuel makes shipping cheaply produced goods from China to the US unworkable. There would be pain all around, but we might regain a functioning economy as the productivity returns.

Zero Debt's picture

Trust "The Monetary Policy Balloon" from the Bank of England:

It's much more fun than the fed game but I only scored 58% because the balloon crashed all the time


James-Morrison's picture

My college Macro Economics book cost $36.95.

My son's version of same book cost $164.99. 


Nah, it's worth more now that economics is a "proven" science due to the stellar work of da Bernake.'s picture

Can hedonic pricing be applied to the dismal science?

Taku's picture

Maybe someone could introduce this game to the bernank.

devo's picture

That's what I was thinking, too. The inflation that China et al absorb isn't modeled. That's not to say I believe CPI. It's probably somewhere in between (i.e. ~10%).