Interest rates across the developed markets have been kept at emergency levels (and all time historical lows) for seven years. Do we think that allowing banks to access essentially free money is more or less likely to give rise to the sort of malinvestments that caused the financial crisis in the first place? If you believe that the answer is ‘less likely’, there is a job at your local central bank with your name on it.
The flip side of falling interest rates is rising bond prices. Bonds are in a ferocious bull market. It's gobbling up capital like the Cookie Monster jamming tollhouses into his maw.
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.
"Back in 2008, in the midst of a crisis of global proportions, Ernst Stavro Paulson and the enigmatic Dr.Yes brought SPECTRE out of the shadows and into the collective conscious of the world. They did so by seemingly offering a cunning solution to the fears that gripped mankind in the wake of the GFC—free money!"
Just days after the potential for more capital injections for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) are admitted to, we discover another 'scheme' to enrich the 'have-yachts' on the backs of the 'have-nots'.
It is now open season on "climate change deniers" everywhere.
With the S&P 500 just over 1% from its all-time record-high, it is perhaps shocking that only just over 50% of the index members are trading above their 200-day moving average. Worse still, the divergence between index price performance and underlying component performance has never been greater as The Fed's last money-printing effort drove a wedge between the have-nots and the have-yachts...
No, Ben S. Bernanke will be someday remembered as the world’s most destructive battleship admiral. Not only was he fighting the last war, but his whole multi-trillion money printing campaign after September 15, 2008 was aimed at avoiding an historical Fed mistake that had never even happened!
Why is wealth/income inequality soaring? The easy answer is of course the infinite greed of Wall Street fat-cats and the politicos they buy/own. If conventional labor and finance capital have lost their scarcity value, then the era in which financialization reaped big profits is ending.
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.
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don't have a basic working knowledge of what, say, a volatility surface means. We're not saying that we all have to become volatility traders to survive in the market jungle today, any more than we all have to become game theorists to avoid being the sucker at the Fed’s communication policy table. And if you want to remove yourself as much as possible from the machines, then find a niche in the public markets where dark strategies have little sway. Muni bonds, say, or MLPs. The machines will find you eventually, but for now you’re safe. But if you’re a traditional investor whose sandbox includes big markets like the S&P 500, then you’re only disadvantaging yourself by ignoring this stuff. Ignorance is not bliss...
The fact of the matter is that year over year retail sales at these levels only happen during recessions. It’s really that simple. Without the crutch of subprime auto loans and student loan debt being spent by pretend University of Phoenix students on iGadgets, fitbits, hookers and blow, this economy would already be in free fall. Look no further than what happened to Wal-Mart today for confirmation we are in the midst of a worldwide recession, if not depression. The only people who refuse to acknowledge recession reality are the Wall Street hucksters, looking to fleece a few more muppets before their party is over. Propaganda and lies can’t stop this recession.
Nothing focuses the mind more than either the lure of riches or, the loss of them. And there has been no other group caught up more in the lure for riches than: the disruption class. Disrupting is what it’s been all about over these last few years. However, there’s another disruption on the technological horizon heading right towards Silicon Valley itself, and that brewing storm is – disruption of the disrupt-ers. Now might be the perfect time to take a position in any solid company with the ability to manufacture quality “crying towels” and get them quickly to market. After all: Unicorn tears we’ve all been told are far different from most others.
So what's left in the toolbag of central banks and states to stimulate recessionary economies if QE has been discredited? The answer: Helicopter Money.
Long gone is the illusion of: an elected body by the citizenry. Today, it’s become demonstrably self-evident the economy is run by an elected body – by the elected. And the consequences of this change is only now beginning to openly reverberate both in amplitude and frequency with every passing day.