A Fable To Expose The Fed

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 11-03-2010

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Here’s a great fable from the Conservative Business Network.

My mother and father would hark back to the days when a loaf of bread was only 8 cents. “Mom”, I would say, “things just cost more.”

Could I have been more wrong?

Things don’t cost more, it is a hidden tax!

How Inflation is Created

Contrary to common thought, inflation is not the normal order of things. It will all become very clear when you read this short analogy.

There are 10 people in a community.

1. Abe makes tractors

2. Bill makes gas

3. Charlie builds houses

4. Darin is a developer

5. Edward makes tractor parts

6. Frank is a produce farmer

7. George raises cattle

8. Hank is a tractor mechanic

9. Ian owns and drives a delivery van

10. Jasper is a laborer

These hardworking folks soon learned a simple barter system would not work. When Charlie built a house for Hank, he wanted to be paid, but did not need tractor parts.

They needed something else of value to trade. Everyone knew this was a problem for them too. So they all got together and created an advanced barter system called money.They created the “DayCredit” or as it became known the DC.

A DayCredit was equal to exactly (1) 12 hour day of work. Since it takes Charlie 3600 hours to build a house, the house is worth 300 DC’s. That means Hank is going to have to labor as a mechanic for 300 days to pay for the house.

With DC currency, it does not matter for whom Hank works, as long as they pay him in equivalent DC currency. Charlie knows that the money he receives can be used to buy goods or services from anyone else in their group.

So far; so good.

One day, the Fedrev family moves into town. The whole town is excited and welcome the Fedrev’s with open arms. They explain to them how their barter system works and the Fedrevs agree to accept and use the DC currency.

Up until this point, everyone printed their own currency based on integrity and full guarantee of their 12 hr work day per DC.

Fedrev was a printer and supplied printing services. Then one day they offered to be the sole printer of the DC currency. A reasonable idea but unfortunately Fedrev was lazy and dishonest.

Fedrev wanted to have the nicest house in the community but did not have enough DCs to purchase the house from Charlie. So they very quietly printed a little extra money and gave it to themselves as a 10% interest bonus. They then used that money to buy the most expensive house Charlie could build.

Everyone knew there were more DCs in the system than there were labor hours to back them up. So when Frank went to buy a tractor, Edward would no longer accept 1 DC per 12 hr day. Edward now wanted 1.1 DCs for each labor day he needed to build a tractor.

Jasper the laborer could no longer afford to buy produce because Frank had to raise his prices to cover the cost of the tractor. So he demanded a cost of living adjustment from George the Cattle farmer.

Upon learning that George’s beef prices went up by 10% Bill raised his gas prices to cover his family expenses.

And so on.

Sadly, due to dishonest money policy, 10% of the value of the money simply disappeared. A day's work is still a days work, but for this community, a day’s work is only worth 91% of what it used to be.

For those that could raise their prices, it was a wash.

But for those who could not raise their prices, their money now buys less. A day of delivery for Ian is no longer worth a 12 hours of Bill’s gas production.

Rising prices are absolute proof that too much money is being pumped into the system!

I get inflation, but how is this a hidden tax?

Great Question.

Who benefited in the community of 10?

Read the rest at Conservative Business Network.

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“Low Rates Still Needed”, So Says Our Central Planner

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 25-02-2010

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Will Bernanke be raising rates anytime soon? Sure doesn’t look like it.

After taking several small steps recently to take the financial system off life support, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear Wednesday that he wasn’t close to the more momentous act of raising interest rates, thus tightening credit.

In his semi-annual testimony to Congress on the economy and monetary policy, Mr. Bernanke said that short-term interest rates, now near zero, were likely to remain there for at least several more months.

He highlighted worries about what he called the “nascent recovery”—marked by high unemployment, wobbly real-estate markets, weak lending and large budget deficits. Mr. Bernanke said slack in the economy meant the benchmark federal-funds rate would remain near zero for an “extended period.”

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will update Congress on monetary policy this morning. The question-and-answer session might prove illuminating, Kelly Evans reports on the News Hub.

via Bernanke: Low Rates Still Needed – WSJ.com.

OK, so if Americans tossed aside the assumptions that are programmed into them by the media and schools, they would ask, “How does Bernanke know when the rates need raised?” Well, the truth is he doesn’t.

Just think about this whole concept of central planning when it comes to interest rates. Interest rates are just the cost of money. It should be set by supply and demand just like the cost of any other product or service. So, what would have happened if Bernanke didn’t crank interest rates down to zero to fix the bubble the Fed just created and popped? Well, rates were high because the Fed raised them before the bubble burst, which ultimately popped the bubble. Now, let’s say the Fed disappeared off the face of the earth at that moment and the free market took over. Interest rates would have been high at the moment just like it was. When the interest rates are high people save instead of spend. If for instance you are looking to invest in a building and your return is 7% but interest rates are 6%, are you going to spend that money or save it? You are better off saving it than taking the risk for an additional 1% return.

Now, with an increase in savings and a decrease in borrowing, what would happen? What happens anytime supply (money in this case) increases and demand (borrowing in this case) decreases? The price (interest rates in this case) declines. As it declines, all the sudden that investment in a new building makes more sense, and at that point you will have real investment based on real economic conditions. The interest rate will actually mean something, and you will know that currently based on the interest rate there is ample supply of money in savings to be lent out to fund this project. The funding will not dry up at the whim of the Fed half way through the project.

Now the opposite is true as well. If too many people start borrowing instead of saving, the interest rate will increase. With less savings, supply (money) decreases. When supply decreases and demand increases or remains the same, what happens? Prices (interest rates) go up.

The market can handle money and interest rates based on real conditions. Instead, much like the Soviet economy, we have a central planner who has no clue what the real conditions are. Think about it. When the economy tanked, people should have stopped borrowing/spending and began saving. That would have lowered interest rates and got investments back on track after savings was back up to a sustainable level. Instead, the Fed dropped interest rates to the floor (actually negative real interest rates), which discourages savings. Is it any wonder our economy seems to have booms and busts? Businesses decide to invest assuming that there is ample supply of money. The problem is there was no real savings, because the Fed’s zero percent interest rates discouraged savings. Then some point in their project, the Fed decides they want to raise interest rates, and funding for that project dries up. This is not based on real market conditions, but because the Fed said so. Now this business lost it’s investment, which can ultimately lead to bankruptcy, laying off employees, etc.

Hopefully this makes sense. I’m not an economist, but sometimes I play one on this blog and not a very good one.

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Fed to Outline His Wizardry

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 08-02-2010

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The Wall Street Journal has an article talking about how Ben Bernanke is going to layout his master plan on how to prevent inflation after printing trillions of dollars while at the same time not collapsing the economy. Sounds like a tight rope walk on an icy rope to me.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will begin this week to lay out a blueprint for a credit tightening, to be followed once the Fed decides the economy has recovered sufficiently.

The centerpiece will be a new tool Congress gave the central bank in October 2008: an interest rate the Fed pays banks on money they leave on reserve at the central bank. Known as “interest on excess reserves,” this rate is now 0.25%.

The Fed is still at least several months away from raising interest rates or beginning to drain the flood of money it poured into the financial system in 2008 and 2009. But looking ahead to when the economy is strong enough to warrant tightening credit, officials have been discussing for months which financial levers to pull, when to start and how best to communicate their intent.

When the Fed is ready to tap the brakes, it plans to raise the rate paid on excess reserves, according to Fed officials in interviews and recent speeches. The higher rate would entice banks to tie up money they otherwise might lend to customers or other banks. The Fed expects such a maneuver to pull up other key short-term rates, including the federal-funds rate at which banks lend to each other overnight—long the main tool for steering the economy.

In response to the worst financial crisis in decades, the Fed took extraordinary action to prevent an even deeper recession— pushing short-term interest rates to zero and printing trillions of dollars to lower long-term rates. Extricating itself from these actions will require both skill and luck: If the Fed moves too fast, it could provoke a new economic downturn; if it waits too long, it could unleash inflation, and if it moves clumsily it could unsettle markets in ways that disrupt the nascent economic recovery. Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues are attempting to explain—both to markets and the public—that the Fed has an exit strategy in the works in order to bolster confidence in its ability to steer the economy.

Couple questions, because I am not an economist. First, where does the money come from to pay this “interest on excess reserves”? I guess they just print it. So the answer to preventing inflation is to print money and pay banks with newly printed money to hold their reserves with the Fed. If what I understand of inflation is correct, it’s the printing of new money that is inflation, and higher prices is just a symptom of inflation. It sounds to me like all this does is create more inflation. Again, I’m not an economist, so I could be completely wrong on this. It sounds to me like someone taking ibuprofen when they have strep throat. You may have minimized the symptoms, but you still have strep throat that needs to be dealt with. (I had strep a month ago, so this was the best example I could think of.)

Second question is is it me or are the conspiracy of bankers controlling the world sounding more and more realistic. They screw up the whole country, and what is their punishment? They get bailouts dollar for dollar with no losses on their bad bets. Then they get paids to keep their share of newly printed money at the Fed. They get paid when they lend it out at 10 to 1, and if they screw up, guess who’s back to bailing them out.

Third question is more rhetorical. Based on the last paragraph, does anyone have “confidence in it’s ability to steer the economy”? This is the same Fed that steered the economy into its current crisis. They created a huge bubble because of their low interest rates, which they are now trying to cure with even lower interest rates. Now they tell us they have a master plan to get us out of printing trillions of dollars without massive inflation.

The nature of its exit from today’s unusually low interest rates will affect everything from mortgage rates and what companies pay on short-term borrowings to the rates savers earn. The timing and sequence of the steps are the subject of intense speculation in financial markets.

You have to just love the government. They blame the speculators when things aren’t going the way they claim they are supposed to go, and then they create all these areas of speculation. If the government would just let the free market work, speculators wouldn’t be sitting around trying to figure out what the government is going to do. I’m sure there are some out there who would pay good money to know before hand what they are going to do. Nah, that would never happen with our “trusted” officials.

Officials are warning investors and banks to prepare for surprises.

In January, Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said: “Interest rates are difficult to forecast in the most settled or normal times, and their path is especially uncertain in the current circumstances.”

The Fed is contemplating other innovative steps to manage some of the money it has pumped in, steps that officials say could come either slightly before or alongside a boost in the rate on reserves.

One is to encourage banks to tie up money at the Fed for a set period—preventing them from lending it—in what are called “term deposits.” Another is to lock up funds, and thus constrain the supply of credit in short-term lending markets, by borrowing against the Fed’s large portfolio of securities holdings, in trades known as “reverse repos.” When the Fed borrows from the markets, it effectively takes money out of circulation and replaces it with securities from its holdings.

via Fed to Outline Future Tightening Steps – WSJ.com.

Oh boy. The Fed is coming up with new tools. What’s the old saying, “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Sounds to me like they just got different hammers, and they are going to pound the same nail. The problem is we are the ones holding the nails, and I have a feeling we’re going to get our fingers smashed.

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Meltdown by Thomas E. Woods Jr – The best explanation of our current financial crisis

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Video | Posted on 28-01-2010

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This is from a lecture Tom Woods gave about his book, Meltdown. Tom is an awesome presenter and makes boring topics entertaining. By the end of the lecture, you will understand exactly who caused the mortgage meltdown, the financial crisis and our current recession.

This is a Youtube playlist, so the next part will automatically start. It’s a little over an hour for the full lecture.

httpvp://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CB9B817C147AEC7B

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Here we go again….Alan S. Blinder: When Greed Is Not Good

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 12-01-2010

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Alan S. Blinder wrote another half witted op-ed about financial regulation and Wall Street’s return to “greed”. As all half witted intellectuals, he recognizes a symptom, but never questions the source. Here is a paragraph where he talks about Adam Smith.

When economists first heard Gekko’s now-famous dictum, “Greed is good,” they thought it a crude expression of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”—which is one of history’s great ideas. But in Smith’s vision, greed is socially beneficial only when properly harnessed and channeled. The necessary conditions include, among other things: appropriate incentives (for risk taking, etc.), effective competition, safeguards against exploitation of what economists call “asymmetric information” (as when a deceitful seller unloads junk on an unsuspecting buyer), regulators to enforce the rules and keep participants honest, and—when relevant—protection of taxpayers against pilferage or malfeasance by others. When these conditions fail to hold, greed is not good.

via Alan S. Blinder: When Greed Is Not Good – WSJ.com.

Binder says “in Smith’s vision, greed is socially beneficial only when properly harnessed and channeled”, and I’m guessing he thinks the geniuses in Washington should be the ones to do the harnessing and channeling. Is Binder really this ignorant, or is he so trapped in his own reality that he can’t see past his old ideas? By giving Washington the power to “harness and channel” Wall Street, the economy or anything else, you create the source of corruption. Washington has become Wall Street. Look at who occupies the White House staff. This isn’t just Obama. This was Bush as well.

Greed is only harmful to society when the negative results of greed are forced on society instead of the source of the greed. In this case, Wall Street’s greed led to subprime mortgages, but instead of them being harmed by the negative results, they used government force to dish the negative results on the tax payers.

People aren’t typically greedy, despite all the negative comments by the like of Blinder. Something usually entices you into greed. Someone sees the chance of unearned profits, and they get…. well “greedy” for it. In this case, Wall Street got greedy because the Fed was printing “free” money. Who benefits from this money? Well, the banks are the ones who get the money first before it’s devalued. They get to loan it out and make their profit before the damage is done. In their ability to do this, because of the Fed, would they not be making unearned profits? It would be no different than a man giving you $1,000 and saying go ahead lend that out at whatever interest rate you can to make a profit. You pay the man back one percent interest and keep the rest. You really don’t have any risk there. Inflation is typically three to four percent. Hmm, just think how much you can make with no risk if you make even more of these loans. What if you loaned out $1 million? Now you can see where greed comes from.

If we didn’t have the Fed in bed with Wall Street bankers, we wouldn’t have had the easy money that created the last bubble in which Wall Street so enriched themselves. Then when the bubble burst did Wall Street have to take their punishment? Nope. Because of government force and collusion, they were able to force all of America to pay the bill.

What Blinder doesn’t understand is the problem isn’t an unregulated “invisible hand”. The problem is because of government the “invisible hand” now has a gun in it. When there is a gun, this is when “greed is not good”.

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Alan S. Blinder has a new set of rose (keynesian) colored glasses

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 16-12-2009

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In the Wall Street Journal today, Alan Blinder, talks up the economy and show’s his optimism (naivete) of things to come.

By ALAN S. BLINDER

The U.S. economy is digging itself out of a deep hole. You have probably heard a lot of doom and gloom lately, including talk of a jobless recovery, an L-shaped recovery (which means no recovery at all), or even a W—the feared double-dip recession. The Scrooges have a point: There are serious dangers to the nascent recovery. But you’ve heard all that many times. Let me offer instead, in deliberately one-sided fashion, the case for optimism. It is, after all, the holiday season.

The case begins with the “slingshot effect” I wrote about on this page last summer (“The Economy Has Hit Bottom,” July 24, 2009). When the growth rate of any component of GDP rises, it gives overall GDP growth a boost. And going from sharply negative growth to zero is a notable rise. In July, the slingshot scenario was hypothetical—though likely. In today’s economy, it’s a real phenomenon.

During the first half of this year, the investment component of GDP declined at a stunning 38% annual rate. Since the investment share of GDP was then about 14%, this implosion accounted for minus 5.4 percentage points of GDP growth. But since overall GDP declined “only” 3.6% in those two quarters, the rest of GDP (the 86%) actually rose. It was a small but real reason for optimism in a stormy sea.

Then came the third quarter. Like a woozy prizefighter lifting himself off the canvas, the battered investment component of GDP managed to rise (at an 11% annual rate), which added 1.3 points to GDP growth rather than subtracting 5.4 points. That 6.7 point swing was the start of the slingshot effect, which is not yet over.

Investment has three components: business investment, inventory stocking, and homebuilding. Inventory stocks were still declining at near-record rates in the third quarter; they simply must level off within a few quarters because sales are rising and firms will not want to deplete their stocks indefinitely. Business investment remains 20% below its 2008 peak; its likely course is up, not down, because plants and equipment wear out. And housing? Well, you know. Homebuilding is still in the doldrums—limping along at less than half the level of 1960. The only way to go is up.

This is where Keynesians think they have things right by using their assumptions to prove their assumptions. Blinder says while investment decreased, the other GPD components picked up the slack, so GPD didn’t decline as much as it would have otherwise. The problem is the slack was government spending. This is how they reinforce their own assumptions. They believe the government can boost the economy with stimulus, printing money, etc. Then they create a GDP calculation that includes government spending as one of it’s components. Then to increase GDP, they use that component to minupulate the calculation. The problem is that component does nothing to create wealth for our economy. It does not create real economic value. Gross Domestic Product is about production, but the government produces nothing. If this was the way to economic growth, why don’t we just focus on that component of GDP? Why not just quadruple the government spending? GDP would skyrocket!

Of course, the investment slingshot won’t last forever. Sometime in 2010, consumer spending must take over. And this is where the pessimists go into full throttle. Burdened by huge losses of both wealth and jobs, American households will start saving like mad, we are told. Sounds plausible, but it hasn’t really happened. True, the average personal saving rate has risen to 4.5% of disposable income so far this year from 2.7% in 2008. That’s higher, but a long way from the 8%-10% saving rates the doomsayers have foreseen. A saving rate near 5% is consistent with 3%-4% GDP growth in 2010.

Let’s hope consumers don’t listen to Blinder. Our country is badly in the need for savings. Savings are used for investment, which is what creates real economic growth. Yes, ultimately consumers need to spend, because we need to buy much of what we produce. If we don’t, it won’t be produced. The problem is when that consumption is heavily leveraged as it has been. I’m sure the Fed will eventually trick the public into going more in debt as things start to get back to normal.

The second major source of optimism is the amazing performance of productivity during the recession. To be sure, that performance had a downside: While real GDP was falling 3.7%, payroll employment dropped 5%, devastating many American families. But by definition, that discrepancy means that productivity—output per hour of work—rose substantially during the recession, which is pretty unusual.

The last two quarters were even more extreme: Productivity in the nonfarm business sector grew at a shocking 8.1% annual rate. There are two possible explanations. One: The last two quarters were among the most technologically innovative and entrepreneurial in the history of the United States. Two: Fearful businesses pared payrolls to the bone. If the second is closer to the truth, payrolls are extraordinarily lean right now. Which means that firms will need to hire more workers as their sales and production grow. Which means that employment may start growing sooner than the pessimists think.

I have been pointing this out for months, but until the last employment report, it was a hypothesis supported by no evidence. Not anymore. While payrolls continued to decline in November, it was by only a scant 11,000 jobs; and the job counts for September and October were revised upward. The data now show a clear trend that suggests that net job creation may be only a month or two away. We’ll see.

Here again, the problem is Blinder is counting the government as if all jobs are created equal. Jobs do the economy no good if they aren’t producing value to the economy, and government jobs do not produce value. The latest jobs report showed increases in government jobs and temporary employment. All other jobs, the ones we want, were down. More government jobs, used to distort the jobs report, is not a good thing.

There is more to the case for optimism. For one thing, less than 30% of February’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus has been spent to date; over 70% is still in the pipeline. Pessimists dote on the fact that the rate of increase of stimulus spending has probably peaked and will be lower in 2010. True. But the level of GDP will continue to get support from fiscal policy, and a second job-creation package (“Please don’t call it a stimulus!”) looks to be in the works.

Back to increasing the government component of GDP. See why government spending should be taken out of GDP?

Then there is the Federal Reserve’s stupendously expansionary monetary policy. It is well known that interest rates work on the economy with long lags. But the Fed’s last rate cut came a year ago. So isn’t the monetary policy pipeline empty? The answer is no, for at least three reasons. First, history suggests that the time lag is closer to two years than to one. So even the normal policy lags are not over.

But second, and more important, the lags are likely to be abnormally long this time around. As long as the economy’s credit-granting arteries were blocked, they could not carry the Fed’s lower-interest-rate medicine into the economy’s bloodstream. Sadly, some of these arteries remain blocked today—such as for small business lending. But the Fed, Treasury, FDIC and others have created a bewildering variety of stents and bypasses to get credit flowing again. The credit markets are now healing, though slower than we would like. Hence there is still monetary stimulus in the pipeline.

And third, the Fed continues to inject more medicine. Not by cutting interest rates, of course. Zero is as low as you can go, and the Fed arrived there a year ago. But “quantitative easing” is still in play. One example is the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) purchase program, which is adding MBS to the Fed’s balance sheet and providing vital support to the mortgage market. Yes, the Fed has begun to think about its exit strategy. But that is for the future, not for now.

The Fed’s “stupendously expansionary monetary policy” is what we should fear the most. The author may be right on the lag, and that would be the most devasting blow to the economy. Many are predicting massive inflation as the Fed’s stimulus finally leaves the reserves and enters the economy. I wouldn’t call that a case for optimism. As I highlighted in a previous blog, even the best case inflation scenario is not too comforting. If not severely contracted, we’ll have massive inflation. If severely contracted, we could be looking at a serious contraction in the economy. Pick your poison.

I warned at the outset that I would present a deliberately biased case. So let me admit, once again, that serious downside risks remain. The investment slingshot and the fiscal stimulus will both peter out in 2010. Consumer finances and confidence are shaky. Banks are still failing and commercial real estate is a mess. We cannot count on exports to pull us out of this slump. All true. And all reasons not to expect the kind of exuberant boom that typically follows a deep recession—such as the 7.7% growth spurt in the six quarters following the 1981-82 slump. No one expects that.

So my optimism is guarded. The 3%-4% growth rate that I anticipate for the rest of this year and for 2010 is a lot worse than 7.7%, to be sure. But compared to what we’ve been through, it will feel a whole lot better.

Mr. Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and vice chairman of the Promontory Interfinancial Network, is a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

via Alan S. Blinder: The Case for Optimism on the Economy – WSJ.com.

Blinder doesn’t even consider the effects of the health care takeover, national debt, etc. Then again why would he? Keynesians think government spending is as valuable as business investment. Why? Because GDP says so.

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Peter Schiff hands out an ass whoopin to David Epstein

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, Video | Posted on 12-12-2009

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I can’t remember how I found this video, but if you have the time, it’s a much watch. You want to know why we are heading for disaster? It’s because the government is filled with David Epsteins, when we need more Peter Schiffs. Hopefully, Schiff will defeat Dodd next year, and we’ll at least have one. Add Rand Paul into the equation, and we are heading into the right direction.

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Hyperinflation – Even The Best Case Scenarios Look Bad

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 11-12-2009

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Bob Murphy has a article on The American Conservative basically outlining how he sees our currency being destroyed and possibly ushering in the Amero. While the entire article is pretty scary, the part about the current bank reserves really popped out at me.

Monetary Catastrophe

Since the start of the present financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has implemented extraordinary programs to rescue large institutions from the horrible investments they made during the bubble years. Because of these programs, the Fed’s balance sheet more than doubled from September 2008 to the end of the year, as Bernanke acquired more than a trillion dollars in new holdings in just a few months.

If Bernanke has been so aggressive in creating new money, why haven’t prices skyrocketed at the grocery store? The answer is that banks have chosen to let their reserves with the Fed grow well above the legal minimum. In other words, banks have the legal ability to make new loans to customers, but for various reasons they are choosing not to do so. This chart from the Federal Reserve shows these “excess reserves” in their historical context.

U.S. depository institutions have typically lent out their excess reserves in order to earn interest from their customers. Yet currently the banks are sitting on some $850 billion in excess reserves, because (a) the Fed began paying interest on reserves in October 2008, and (b) the economic outlook is so uncertain that financial institutions wish to remain extremely liquid.

The chart explains why Faber and others are warning about massive price inflation. If and when the banks begin lending out their excess reserves, they will have the legal ability to create up to $8.5 trillion in new money. To understand how significant that number is, consider that right now the monetary aggregate M1—which includes physical currency, traveler’s checks, checking accounts, and other very liquid assets—is a mere $1.7 trillion.

What does all this mean? Quite simply, it means that if Bernanke sits back and does nothing more, he has already injected enough reserves into the financial system to quintuple the money supply held by the public. Even if Bernanke does the politically difficult thing, jacking up interest rates and sucking out half of the excess reserves, there would still be enough slack in the system to triple the money supply.

via The American Conservative » Killing the Currency.

If the currency doubled over night and the goods and services of the country did not grow, prices would quickly double as well.  While this is a drastic example, it will not work much different if it happened over a longer period of time. It just wouldn’t be as obvious. The problem here as Bob points out is even if Bernanke manages to pull out half the reserves, you’d have the money supply possibly tripling in a short period of time. Obviously, our goods and services would not triple in a short period of time, so you would have inflation that no living American has ever experienced.

What happens in situations like that? Well, look at the Argentina.

It never ceases to amaze me the arrogance we have been programmed to believe. America is a great country, but it cannot defy history just because it’s America. I’ve heard countless pundits just over the past couple weeks pooh, pooh all the “crazy talk” about the economy by saying “We’re Americans. We’ll figure our way out of this.” Why do we believe being American has anything to do with our odds? If we do the same things that were done historically, we will get the same results. It’s as simple as that. This very arrogance is even manifest in the history of decline civilizations. Do you think Rome didn’t believe they were special and could keep going as they were? How about the Soviet Union? We spent all the money in the 80s to bankrupt the Soviet Union, because Reagan knew that was the best and easiest way to destroy it. Here we are 20 years later following the same path of destruction that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Are we that stupid and arrogant to think because we are Americans, it will be different?

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Bernanke Fights Back

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics | Posted on 28-11-2009

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Bernanke appears to be on the ropes. He’s fighting back in the Washington Post.

These matters are complex, and Congress is still in the midst of considering how best to reform financial regulation. I am concerned, however, that a number of the legislative proposals being circulated would significantly reduce the capacity of the Federal Reserve to perform its core functions. Notably, some leading proposals in the Senate would strip the Fed of all its bank regulatory powers. And a House committee recently voted to repeal a 1978 provision that was intended to protect monetary policy from short-term political influence. These measures are very much out of step with the global consensus on the appropriate role of central banks, and they would seriously impair the prospects for economic and financial stability in the United States. The Fed played a major part in arresting the crisis, and we should be seeking to preserve, not degrade, the institution’s ability to foster financial stability and to promote economic recovery without inflation.

To start, Bernanke says he’s concerned congress will significantly reduce the capacity of the Fed to perform it’s core functions. Are we supposed to say “oh boy, wouldn’t want that”? It’s core function is to trick businesses and consumers into spending money and then pulling the carpet out from under them when inflation seems to be getting out of control. It’s core functions caused the mortgage meltdown, the tech bubble, skyrocketing oil prices, and skyrocketing food prices. I sure wouldn’t want those functions being impeded.

The government’s actions to avoid financial collapse last fall — as distasteful and unfair as some undoubtedly were — were unfortunately necessary to prevent a global economic catastrophe that could have rivaled the Great Depression in length and severity, with profound consequences for our economy and society. (I know something about this, having spent my career prior to public service studying these issues.)

Bernanke, in his infinite wisdom, has mastered all there is to know about economics. After all, he’s spent his career studying it. What can be more disastrous than a man who doesn’t recognize there are things he doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know. History abounds with disasters from men who thought they had it all figured out and didn’t realize they were living within their own assumptions.  Can someone have Bernanke study the weather? I’d like someone to control the weather, so it’s a constant 75 degrees.

Moreover, looking to the future, we strongly support measures — including the development of a special bankruptcy regime for financial firms whose disorderly failure would threaten the integrity of the financial system — to ensure that ad hoc interventions of the type we were forced to use last fall never happen again.

via Ben Bernanke – The right fix for the Fed – washingtonpost.com.

While Bernanke says he doesn’t want the Fed politicized, he sure is a politician. They cause the problem and then ask you to look to them to be the ones who solve it. We are supposed to believe if we just give them more power, they swear they’ll protect us. This will never, ever, ever happen again. Oh, don’t read history books, you ignorant common man. Just because the Fed was established almost 100 years ago to make sure these things never, ever happened again, doesn’t mean they don’t mean it this time.

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