04/17/2017

Shovel Ready: How The Fed Makes Us Dig Our Own Graves

The Daily Bell

I just read an article from what the mainstream considers a reputable source of news, the New York Times. The article talked all about monetary policy and didn’t say a thing about the real world.

Because the Federal Reserve is not operating in the real world. They are operating in a world of currency manipulation that they pass off as saving the economy. They act like they are guardians of the dollar when in fact they are just bandits for the government.

What the fed does to “cure” a bad economy is cut interest rates, which continues to make borrowing money easy. The money is there, but the actual value behind those dollars is not–that’s why the economy turned down in the first place. And that is what creates bubbles: when people keep spending easy-to-acquire money, even though tangible goods and services of value do not match how easy it is to get money.

So now the fed is basically stuck at a near zero interest rate when you adjust for inflation.

Right now, for instance, the central bank’s main short-term rate, the federal funds rate, is still only three-quarters of a percent to 1 percent, because the Fed wants to continue stimulating the recovery. This leaves the central bank with very little room to respond if the economy falters. Even a minor slowdown now could require a larger rate cut than is feasible, once again leaving policy makers wishing they could do more.

This dynamic can feed on itself. The less ammunition the Fed has to blast the economy out of its malaise, the weaker and slower will be the recovery, making it more likely that the next bad shock will require the Fed to cut rates more than is feasible.

Wait, you mean, they were just kicking the can down the road all along? And now they have reached the end of their ability to manipulate the economy without dire results? So all the little economic downturns they “helped avert” have really just been bundled up into one big giant bubble ready to burst and rain down, destroying the economy on impact.

It’s okay though, the government as always has the solution, and the New York Times is here to tell us what that solution is.

Perhaps the answer lies outside the Fed. It may be time to revive a more active role for fiscal policy — government spending and taxation — so that the government fills in for the missing stimulus when the Fed can’t cut rates any longer. Given political realities, this may be best achieved by building in stronger automatic stabilizers, mechanisms to increase spending in bad times, without requiring Congressional action.

Yes! So simple! They just have to spend more and tax more. And to avoid all this Constitutional-Congressional-approval-for-spending mumbo jumbo we can just make it automatic!

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Keynesian Economics and the Great Depression

Hillsdale College economics professor Gary Wolfram discusses Keynesian economics and the factors that pulled the national economy out of the Great Depression. The story of World War II shows that government spending may produce activity, but not the prosperity of a truly healthy economy.

 

-- Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College,

Shadow Stats Snapshot


ShadowStats alternate economic indicators are based on the methodology of noted economist John Williams, specialist in government economic reporting.

  • Unemployment:
    BLS: 4.5%
    Shadow Stats: 22.5%
  • Inflation:
    March Year-to-Year: 2.38% (CPI-U*)
    Shadow Stats: 10.1%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]