40 Years Ago Today, An Armed Man Stormed The Fed, Furious About Soaring Inflation And High Rates

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021 - 03:05 PM

Late 1981 is best known as the time when the galloping inflation of the 1970s and early 1980s finally broke, with Volcker hiking rates to 20% and the 10Y yield rising briefly above 16%, a yield which would destroy the world today. It also marked the end of the 35-year-old great bond bear market of 1946-1981 and the start of the great moderation which some 40 years later would push real rates to record lows of -7%. And while few may remember it today, it was December 8, 1981 - some 40-years-ago today - when an ominous event took place.

As the NYT reported on Dec 8, 1981, "a man complaining of the high interest rates and inflation threatened to take members of the Federal Reserve Board hostage today but was arrested without any shots being fired, a police spokesman said."

The police said that the man, identified as Jim von Brunn, went up to the second floor, where he threatened a security guard with a .38-caliber pistol.

Luckily, "the man was disarmed without any shots being fired" (there was a less happy ending many years later when in 2009, long after he was released from jail and then 88-years-old, von Brunn entered the Holocaust Memorial in DC and fatally shot a museum guard. van Brunn died a few months later from natural causes while awaiting trial.)

Back in December 1981, CPI was 10%. On Friday, it is expected to print at 6.8%, the highest since June 1982.

How long until soaring prices and near record "misery" push more Americans to the edge of despair and - with nothing to lose - decide to pick up where von Brunn left some 40 years ago.

h/t James Bianco