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Posts Tagged ‘Fed’

Erie Times E-Edition Article-Massive student loan relief hurts the needy

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2021

The problem is the Fed providing easy money allowing schools to jack up tuition.

I wonder how much of the tax payer funded relief is for “studies” programs that offer no chance of a real job.

I am not sure re-allocating money to another round of shovel ready government make work is the answer.

Can I get reimbursed for meeting my obligations?

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=1decefbf9

It’s not surprising that most of the arguments against widespread student loan forgiveness are coming from the political right, given that the idea itself originated from the 2020 presidential campaigns of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But perhaps the strongest reasons for yelling “Stop” should come from the left, because of the negative impact that such a step would cause to our most vulnerable families and communities.

For conservatives, across-theboard, no-strings-attached forgiveness of student loans is an obviously bad idea. It’s enormously expensive. The version sponsored by Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to waive up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person would cost upwards of $1 trillion. It would cut against deepseated principles of personal responsibility and fairness, especially given that most college graduates — not to mention holders of professional degrees — are relatively affluent. And it would create expectations for more such windfalls in the future, encouraging future generations to over-borrow and encouraging university bureaucrats to overspend and hike tuitions further.

It’s unclear if the narrow Democratic Senate majority would approve anything like the Warren-Schumer plan, or even President Joe Biden’s more limited proposal to waive up to $10,000 per person. That’s why a coalition of more than 200 progressive groups is calling on Biden to take action unilaterally, by directing his Education Secretary to use discretion under the Higher Education Act to “minimize the harm to the next generation and help narrow the racial and gender wealth gaps.”

But progressives should curb their enthusiasm, because untargeted loan forgiveness could in fact harm the very people they purport to champion: the most disadvantaged Americans, including children growing up in poverty.

The reasons are two-fold. First, the immense cost would dry up federal resources that could otherwise be used for anti-poverty efforts. Imagine the good that $1 trillion could do if invested in the neediest Americans, rather than relatively well-off college-goers. For example, a National Academies committee estimates that we could reduce child poverty by 50% with an additional investment of $90-110 billion a year in the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing vouchers and SNAP benefits.

For $1 trillion, then, we could slash child poverty in half for an entire decade. Second, canceling student debt without asking for anything in return would wreak havoc with several forgiveness programs already on the books. These encourage teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers and others to serve in high-need areas, or young Americans to opt for public service, including the military. Many of these programs need reforms, and Biden has promised to make them.

Targeted programs are smart ways to tackle social programs, provide relief to borrowers, and support the notion of mutual obligation. So let’s have more of them. Given the massive learning loss experienced by so many students during this awful pandemic, especially Black and Brown children and those growing up in poverty, our schools desperately need millions of tutors to help kids catch up. We also have critical needs in other areas. For example, some have suggested that the heroes who volunteer to be kidney donors could receive loan forgiveness.

The massive overhang of student loan debt is no joke. Millions are struggling to pay back what they borrowed for college. As tuition has skyrocketed and two punishing recessions have weighed down wages and employment, some college-goers face a real squeeze. But canceling debt outright, especially at massive scale, would represent an enormous lost opportunity. We can find ways to provide relief to the people who need it most while also working to solve some of America’s thorniest social problems. That is the sort of “jubilee” that would be worth celebrating.

Michael J. Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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Michael J. Petrilli Guest columnist

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BIDEN’S BANANA REPUBLIC – Matterhorn – GoldSwitzerland

Posted by M. C. on January 16, 2021

https://goldswitzerland.com/bidens-banana-republic/

By Egon von Greyerz

Donald Trump is probably the luckiest presidential candidate in history to have lost an election. He doesn’t realise it yet as he suffers from a self-inflicted wound in the final moments of his presidency. Nor does Biden yet realise how unlucky he is to have won. But that will soon change as his presidency goes from crisis to crisis in all areas from monetary to fiscal to social and political. Very little will go right during his presidency.

The next four years could easily be four years of hell for Biden (if he stays the course for the whole four years), for the US and thus for the world.

TRUMP OBLIGED AS PREDICTED

When Trump won the election in November 2016 I wrote an article, dated Nov 18, 2016, called “Trump Will Grow US Debt Exponentially” .

The article also contained the following graph. In the article I predicted that US debt would double by 2025 to $40 trillion and that it would be $28t in January 2021 at the end of the four years.

Well, surprise, surprise, the debt is today $27.77t which can easily be rounded up to $28t.

I am certainly no forecasting genius, nor was the forecast just luck.

No, it was applying the best method that we have all been given but that few apply or understand.

This method is called HISTORY.

DEBT UP 31X & TAX REVENUE UP 6X

US debt had on average doubled every 8 years since Reagan took over in 1981. So as Trump became president in Jan 2017, he inherited a debt of $20t. Easy then to forecast that 8 years later the debt would be $40t. The $28t forecast for Jan 2021 is just the mathematical in-between point between $20t and $40t.

Even worse than the debt explosion is the the lack of tax revenue to finance the escalating and chronic budget deficits. As the graph above shows, debt has grown 31x since 1981 whilst tax revenues have only grown 6x.

The US deficit is currently $3.3t which is virtually equal to total tax revenue of $3.4t. This means that 50% of annual government spending needs to be borrowed.

BANANA REPUBLIC

The US economy now clearly fits the definition of a Banana republic. A brief description is: “In political science, the term banana republic describes a politically unstable country with an economy dependent upon the exportation of a limited-resource product, such as bananas or minerals.”

In the case of the US, the product they export is of course dollars printed out of thin air – a wonderful export item since supply is unlimited.

Further description is: “Typically, a banana republic has a society of extremely stratified social classes, usually a large impoverished working class and a ruling class plutocracy, composed of the business, political, and military elites of that society.”

Like all Banana Republics, the US economy and social structure is now on the way to perdition with virtually nil chance for Biden & Co to reverse the inevitable course of events.

HISTORY – HISTORY

So back to history – History is what has formed us and history doesn’t just rhyme as Mark Twain said but it often repeats itself. The debt explosion is another good example.

If more people studied and understood history, they would not just recognise the utmost importance of what lies behind us but also that history will teach us about what lies in front of us.

But very few scholars and no journalists study history. Instead we are now in an era when both the media and universities worldwide want to erase history and rewrite the history books. This shows us the total lack of understanding of the utmost importance of history in the evolution of the world.

But this is part of the total decadence and denial that we see at the end of major eras or cycles. The current cycle, whether it is just a 300 year cycle or a 2,000 year old cycle is now coming to an end. These changes clearly don’t happen overnight but the first phase of the fall can be dramatic. And that phase is likely to be starting very soon.

BIDEN ONLY HAS ONE TRICK UP HIS SLEEVE

So what will Biden and his masters do? Well Biden has already called for $ trillions of further support.

He also said: “If we don’t act now, things are going to get much worse and harder to get out of a hole later.”

Well we always knew that Biden really only had one trick up his sleeve – TO PRINT MORE than any president has done in history. To beat Trump is not hard, he only printed $8t in 4 years!

Let’s just remind ourselves that it took 200 years (1808-2008) to increase the US debt from $65 million to $10 trillion.

When Obama took over in Jan 2009 he inherited a $8t debt. Eight years later he handed over a $20t batten to Trump.

In 8 years Obama printed and borrowed more money than the previous presidents had achieved in the course of 200 years!

So will Biden print more than $10t?

Definitely!

Will he do it in 4 years? Most probably!

As I forecasted in my article in 2016, the debt will be at least $40t in Jan 2025, a $12t increase from today.

But no one should believe that Biden will stop at $40t. The US economy is already leaking like a sieve. And the problems have just started.

The problems in the currently semi-paralysed US economy will escalate at a rapid rate and the Biden team will attempt to plug every hole at all levels from a minimum wage to saving major corporations.

But sadly, Banana Republics don’t survive by printing worthless money.

PROBLEMS IN THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND NOT CV-19 STARTED THE CRISIS

Still, we mustn’t forget what started the latest phase of problems in the US economy.

It wasn’t Covid back in February 2020. No, that was a mere catalyst. The underlying disaster was a lot deeper. The real problem started back in Aug-Sep 2019. This is when the problems in the financial system became acute and both the ECB and Fed started flooding the system with money. But not real money of course but just worthless paper money created with just pushing a button.

Between the Fed and the ECB just under $8t of “fake” money has been created digitally since Sep 2019. It must obviously be called fake since nobody had to perform any work or produce any goods or services against this money.

It is really scandalous to call it money since it is no different from the Monopoly game money.

WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS…….

The printed $8 trillion at $15 per hour (Biden’s new minimum wage) equals 60 million man hours. But in the modern MMT (Money Market Theory) paradigm, you don’t need to work for the money. Whatever the world needs, central banks and governments can just create out of nothing.

That is until the music stops. And Biden or Harris are the likely conductors who will preside over the music stopping and the whole edifice collapsing.

The wise will obviously find a chair already now because when the music stops there will be no chairs free and all hell will break loose.

By that time debt will not just be in the $trillions or $100s of trillions. No, the printing will have reached $ and EUR quadrillions as not only most collapsing debt will need to be bought by central banks but also derivatives which probably amount to $2 quadrillion or more.

In addition, medical care, social security and unfunded pensions will probably exceed $1 quadrillion globally and add to the demise of the financial system.

Could I be wrong. Maybe. A close friend gave me once a T-shirt with the inscription:

“I AM NOT ALWAYS RIGHT – But I am never wrong”!

The gift must have been a subtle hint – Hmmm

Still, in my humble view I don’t believe that any orderly reset will change the inevitable course of events. So as far as I am concerned, it is not IF but WHEN.

A professional life of over half a century has taught me that even the most evident events can take longer to develop than you think.

But as I see risk at an extreme, now is the time to prepare.

MARKETS

So to finish, let’s have a quick look at where I see markets. I know forecasting is a mug’s game and I am not really interested in how markets move in the short term more than from an observational point of view.

In the next few years it is all about economic survival and wealth preservation rather than worrying about where the Dow or the Dax is going next.

See the rest here

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David Stockman: Janet Yellen’s Return and the Financial Storm Ahead

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2021

By the time Yellen became Fed Chairman in February 2014, however, there was no plausible excuse for keeping Bernanke’s bloated Fed balance sheet in place or continuing to keep interest rates at the zero bound. If there was ever a chance to normalize Bernanke’s misbegotten Depression-fighting policy, it was during the 48 months of Yellen’s term.

Needless to say, Yellen’s Fed did no such thing. After 45 years of devotion to the 1960s Keynesian bathtub theory of full employment economics, Yellen kept real interest rates buried in negative territory during the entirety of her term, and not just marginally.

https://www.newsmax.com/Finance/DavidStockman/janet-yellen-fed-economy-invest/2016/02/15/id/714444/

The operative words here are “European countries” and “add accommodation.” Yet even a brief reflection on those items demonstrates that Janet is a delusional Simpleton.

https://internationalman.com/articles/david-stockman-on-janet-yellens-return-and-the-financial-storm-ahead/

by David Stockman

Janet Yellen is back.

Naturally, the follies of Keynesian central banking come to mind.

In many ways, Yellen’s tenure as Fed chairman was far worse than Ben Bernanke’s. At least Bernanke’s money-printing madness was undergirded by his credentials as a misguided scholar of the Great Depression and the mistaken conclusion that the Wall Street meltdown of September 2008 was the prelude to another such occurrence.

The Great Depression of the 1930s was caused by way too much Fed-fostered foreign borrowing on Wall Street during the roaring twenties. It stimulated an unsustainable boom in US exports—soaring domestic CapEx in order to expand production capacity and a stock bubble–fueled consumer-spending boom in cars, radios and appliances. Therefore, when the Wall Street bubble burst in October 1929, foreign borrowing dried up, US exports and CapEx crashed and spending on consumer durables plummeted.

This was the cause of the massive contraction in 1930–1933, which took the GDP down from $95 billion to $58 billion in dollars of the day. By contrast, it had nothing to do with Milton Friedman’s crashing M-1 (money supply), which was a consequence of unavoidable and necessary bad debt liquidation by the banking system. Nor did it stem from any lack of credit availability to solvent borrowers, as demonstrated by market interest rates that remained ultralow (under 2%) throughout the downturn.

The depression of 1930–1933 wasn’t owing to the stinginess of the Fed, which actually expanded its balance sheet by 72% between August 1929 and early 1933.

Consequently, Bernanke’s maneuver of flooding the zone with fiat credit during 2009–2013 was a mistaken page from Milton Friedman’s counterfactual playbook, which was wrong the day it was written in the early 1960s and even more wrong when Bernanke cut and pasted it into his PhD thesis at MIT in 1979.

By the time Yellen became Fed Chairman in February 2014, however, there was no plausible excuse for keeping Bernanke’s bloated Fed balance sheet in place or continuing to keep interest rates at the zero bound. If there was ever a chance to normalize Bernanke’s misbegotten Depression-fighting policy, it was during the 48 months of Yellen’s term.

Needless to say, Yellen’s Fed did no such thing. After 45 years of devotion to the 1960s Keynesian bathtub theory of full employment economics, Yellen kept real interest rates buried in negative territory during the entirety of her term, and not just marginally.

The 16% Trimmed Mean CPI increased by an average of 1.90% per annum during that four-year period, while the Fed’s target interest rate averaged just 0.40%.

During the sweet spot of the longest business cycle expansion in history—from month #55 to month #103—when the economy should have been left to expand on its own without “stimulus” from the central banking branch of the state, Yellen kept real money market rates pinned at an unprecedented -150 basis points.

The justification for such economic insanity was the claim that the US economy was not at its full-employment level as measured by the dubious U-3 unemployment rate and that the job of the central bank was to keep injecting “demand” into the economy until the bathtub was full to the brim and 100% of “potential GDP” was attained.

But here’s the thing. Potential GDP and full-employment labor markets are Keynesian malarkey.

In a world in which domestic labor competes with China’s price for goods, India’s price for internet-based services and Mexico’s price for manufactured goods assembly, full employment cannot be measured by the headcount metrics of the BLS, nor can it be achieved by injecting massive amounts of fiat credit into the bank accounts of Wall Street dealers.

In fact, with total outstanding credit now at $81 trillion, or 382% of GDP, the Fed’s liquidity injections never really leave the canyons of Wall Street. The result is increased speculation on Wall Street and accelerating inflation of financial asset prices.

After all, money markets do not finance the working capital or fixed asset investments of business, nor do they fund consumer borrowing for automobiles and durables. Instead, short-term money markets are where Wall Street dealers finance their inventory and where speculators fund their positions in the options markets—or via margin and repo credit against stocks and bonds held outright.

Consequently, negative real interest rates are the mother’s milk of financial speculation and the resulting asset price bubbles.

Yellen’s policies constituted an epic monetary error that has fueled bond- and stock -market bubbles that are off the charts, thereby sending erroneous price signals to Wall Street gamblers, corporate C-suites and spendthrift politicians alike.

The yawning gap below between the purple line, signifying (the running inflation rate) and the brown line (the money market rate) connotes the massive subsidy Yellen’s Fed conferred on speculators and day traders.

Real Cost of Money Market Borrowings, 2014–2018: 16% Trimmed Mean CPI Less Fed Funds Rate

In short, Yellen sowed the wind of monetary excess, and now we are reaping the whirlwind of a gargantuan Wall Street bubble that is a clear and present danger to the economic future—because it will crash, and the resulting financial and economic damage will be biblical.

Ironically, Janet Yellen may be sitting in the captain’s chair when the most violent and destructive financial storm in history finally comes ashore. It would serve her right.

Editor’s Note: The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

That’s exactly why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s.

Click here to download the free PDF now.

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Doug Casey on the Fed to Address Inequality And Climate Change

Posted by M. C. on December 25, 2020

Doug Casey: The Fed is one of the main creators of inequality. The Establishment, the Deep State types, and the other cronies who hang around the government are closest to the fire hydrant of money spewing from the Fed. They get their fill of it before any trickles down to the “little people.”

The solution to the problem is to abolish the Fed. But it’s so entrenched and so central to the corrupt system, that’s impossible. At least short of a monetary collapse—although a monetary collapse is in the cards. But, at a minimum, the Fed shouldn’t try to act as a social engineer.

https://internationalman.com/articles/doug-casey-on-the-fed-to-address-inequality-and-climate-change/

International Man: Recently, the calls for the Fed to add a third mandate to address racial and economic inequality have grown louder.

Will we see a redistribution of wealth soon?

Doug Casey: It seems the movement towards black “reparations” is building momentum. These things always start small, testing the water, then grow when nobody either laughs at them for being stupid or decries them as evil. Most Americans are now too intimidated and confused to do that, however.

It’s similar to MMT. A year ago, the notion of Modern Monetary Theory was too outrageous a notion for a sensible person to bother considering; now, it’s practically public policy.

And, incidentally, when I say “black,” I don’t capitalize the word, as very recent politically correct fashion dictates. Capitalizing it just emphasizes and accentuates racial differences—as do most “woke” practices.

It’s another sign of the mass insanity that’s sweeping the world. Like almost everybody wearing masks when walking down the street, or even bicycling in the countryside. Not to mention locking down the whole country, practically the entire world, like a prison. It’s quite ironic to me. In the past, I’ve often joked that the Earth was a prison planet. Now it’s no joke.

Anyway, the idea of reparations is even more insane, but it’s taking off. It’s the destructive, racist idea of affirmative action on steroids.

It’s one genuinely crazy thing after another, like NASDAQ requiring listed companies to have at least two board members of so-called minority groups, including one non-white person and one with a sexual aberration.

Movies are expected to have the same kind of composition now. You see it to a large degree in commercials on TV. When I watch the boob-tube, I feel like I’m the only straight white male left in the US.

The discrimination against Asians is equally criminal, especially when it comes to getting into college. If you’re a smart and hard-working Asian, you now have to be even smarter and harder working to compete.

These PC fools are making accidents of birth into defining features of existence. The only good thing about the trend is that these people may be overreaching and will self-destruct. Hopefully, that will happen before they destroy society itself.

International Man: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has spoken in length about the Fed’s interest to address economic inequality.

Ironically, the one institution that is single-handedly responsible for destructive monetary policies and money printing of epic proportions plans to do more of the same to “solve” the very problem they created.

What are your thoughts on this?

Doug Casey: The Fed is one of the main creators of inequality. The Establishment, the Deep State types, and the other cronies who hang around the government are closest to the fire hydrant of money spewing from the Fed. They get their fill of it before any trickles down to the “little people.”

The solution to the problem is to abolish the Fed. But it’s so entrenched and so central to the corrupt system, that’s impossible. At least short of a monetary collapse—although a monetary collapse is in the cards. But, at a minimum, the Fed shouldn’t try to act as a social engineer.

It certainly shouldn’t give money to blacks just because they’re black in the form of reparations or for any other reason. The notion is criminally stupid. All exchange must be mutual and free. If it’s not, it breeds resentment for both the giver and the receiver.

Free stuff, like welfare and free government housing, has already destroyed black families and black individuals. Places like Cabrini-Green and Pruitt-Igoe are monuments to government planning. If the Fed gets involved in passing out more free money, it’s only going to cement the average black more solidly to the bottom of society and create more race antagonism.

Well-positioned blacks like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and hundreds of others who are getting rich by virtue of being black are all for it, of course. There’s big money in disguising race-baiting as virtue signaling.

International Man: Recently, Joe Biden announced that he would nominate former Fed Chairman Janet Yellen for US Treasury Secretary. In her first remarks, Yellen spoke about her plans to address racial disparities and inequality.

Is there a trend developing here where racial and economic inequality has become the justification for dangerous monetary policies?

Doug Casey: Race has become a justification for practically everything today. Deep State types in general, and the Democrats in particular, emphasize race and gender differences, which does nothing but aggravate the situation.

This nomination is an excellent deal for Yellen, who’s moved from being a nothing nobody academic to Fed Chair, and now Treasury Secretary. By the time she finishes her term in office, she’ll be a centimillionaire—the usual drill, six-figure speeches, seven-figure book contracts, fat directors fees, consulting fees, and insider investment deals. She’ll do well for someone who has zero business experience and has detracted hugely from the world’s real wealth.

She’s a model for the kind of people who want to go into government to become rich and famous.

International Man: Fed chairman Powell has made countless remarks about the need for the US central bank to address climate change.

What is going on here?

Doug Casey: It’s a good question.

How can they address the so-called problem of climate change? Climate change has been going on since the Earth came together 4.5 billion years ago, and it will continue on its own path, primarily influenced by the sun and secondarily by things like volcanism, cosmic rays, and peculiarities of the planets orbit, long after mankind has gone.

But destroying the economy by printing up more money certainly isn’t an answer to climate change. However, I’m sure that what’s on Powell’s mind is making money easier to get for things like windmills and solar panels. This is more state direction of investment. It was a disaster for the USSR and every other socialist and state-directed economy and will be for us as well.

You’ll notice that the Chinese and other Asian economies don’t indulge in this kind of politically correct investing. It’s a major reason why they’re on the way up, and we’re on the way down.

Janet and Jerome’s excellent adventure in climate engineering won’t end well.

International Man: With climate change and racial inequality, the Fed is creating all sorts of new ridiculous pretexts to justify whatever it wants to do. It would be comical if the consequences weren’t so destructive. What do you think comes next?

Doug Casey: At this point, the Federal Reserve, which most Americans barely even know exists, has become extremely important to everybody.

It’s now the main source of government income—greater even than the income tax—and this is likely to continue. Agencies like the Fed grow when they have unlimited funding. But it’s more than just mission creep at this point.

We saw mission creep during the Vietnam war and all other wars. Now the Fed has been enlisted to fight the war on poverty, the war on racism, and global warming. The problem is that war is the health of the State—but a catastrophe for society.

The Fed started out as essentially a clearinghouse for banks; it was instructed to maintain the value of the currency. It has totally failed at that mission since its creation. The US dollar was stable from 1789 up until 1913 when the Fed was instituted. Since then, the dollar lost has about 97% of its value, and the degeneration is radically accelerating.

Now the Fed is supposed to ensure full employment, racial and gender equality, and sunny days in addition. The next abomination will be Fed Coin, a digital dollar, which will eliminate all privacy from financial transactions.

I don’t think anything can turn the situation around at this point. The only thing you can do is become as wealthy as possible to insulate yourself.

The next step will be something resembling World War III, probably with China. The US will turn into a police state, which in many ways, it was during World Wars I and  II.

It’s going to be much more serious this time around.

Editor’s Note: Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country, but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay.

In the years ahead, there will likely be much less stability of any kind.

That’s exactly why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s.

Click here to download the free PDF now.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Can the Fed End Racism?

Posted by M. C. on October 14, 2020

Supporters of this scheme say that inflation raises wages and creates new job opportunities for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. However, these wage gains are illusory, as wages rarely, if ever, increase as much as prices. So, workers’ real standard of living declines even as their nominal income increases.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/october/12/can-the-fed-end-racism/

Written by Ron Paul

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House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters and Senator Elizabeth Warren have introduced the Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act. This legislation directs the Federal Reserve to eliminate racial disparities in income, employment, wealth, and access to credit.

Eliminating racial disparities in access to credit is code for forcing banks and other financial institutions to approve loans based on the applicants’ race, instead of based on their income and credit history. Overlooking poor credit history or income below what would normally be required to qualify for a loan results in individuals ending up with ruinous debt. These individuals will end up losing their homes, cars, or businesses because banks disregarded sound lending practices in an effort to show they are meeting race-based requirements.

Forcing banks to make loans based on political considerations damages the economy by misallocating resources. This reduces economic growth and inflicts more pain on lower-income Americans.

The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act has already shown what happens when the government forces banks to give loans to unqualified borrowers. This law played a significant role in the housing boom and subsequent economic meltdown. The Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act will be the Community Reinvestment Act on steroids.

This legislation also requires the Fed to shape monetary policy with an eye toward eliminating racial disparities. This adds a third mandate to the Fed’s current “dual mandate” of promoting a stable dollar and full employment.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has already publicly committed to using racial disparities as an excuse to continue the Fed’s current policy of perpetual money creation. Since inflation occurs whenever the Fed creates new money, Powell and his supporters want a policy of never-ending inflation.

Supporters of this scheme say that inflation raises wages and creates new job opportunities for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. However, these wage gains are illusory, as wages rarely, if ever, increase as much as prices. So, workers’ real standard of living declines even as their nominal income increases. By contrast, those at the top of the income ladder tend to benefit from inflation as they receive the new money — and thus an increase in purchasing power — before the Fed’s actions cause a general rise in the price level. The damage done by inflation is hidden and regressive, which is part of why the inflation tax is the most insidious of all taxes.

When the Fed creates new money, it distorts the market signals sent by interest rates, which are the price of money. This leads to a bubble. Many people who find well-paying jobs in bubble industries will lose those jobs when the bubble inevitably bursts. Many of these workers, and others, will struggle because of debt they incurred because they listened to “experts” who said the boom would never end.

The Federal Reserve’s manipulation of the money supply lowers the dollar’s value, creates a boom-and-bust business cycle, facilitates the rise of the welfare-warfare state, and enriches the elites, while impoverishing people in the middle and lower classes. Progressives who want to advance the wellbeing of people in the middle and lower classes should stop attacking free markets and join libertarians in seeking to restore a sound monetary policy, The first step is to let the people know the full truth about the central bank by passing the Audit the Fed bill. Once the truth about the Fed is exposed, a critical mass of people will join the liberty movement and force Congress to end the Fed’s money monopoly.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.


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In Unprecedented Monetary Overhaul, The Fed Is Preparing To Deposit “Digital Dollars” Directly To “Each American” | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2020

In short, ever since the Fed launched QE and NIRP, it has been making the situation it has been trying to “fix” even worse while blowing the biggest asset price bubble in history.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/loretta-mester-hints-fed-preparing-deposit-digital-dollars-directly-each-american

 

Over the past decade, the one common theme despite the political upheaval and growing social and geopolitical instability, was that the market would keep marching higher and the Fed would continue injecting liquidity into the system. The second common theme is that despite sparking unprecedented asset price inflation, prices as measured across the broader economy – using the flawed CPI metric and certainly stagnant worker wages – would remain subdued (as a reminder, the Fed is desperate to ignite broad inflation as that is the only way the countless trillions of excess debt can be eliminated and has so far failed to do so).

The Fed’s failure to reach its inflation target – which prompted the US central bank to radically overhaul its monetary dogma last month and unveil Flexible Average Inflation Targeting (or FAIT) whereby the Fed will allow inflation to run hot without hiking rates – has sparked broad criticism from the economic establishment, even though as we showed in June, deflation is now a direct function of the Fed’s unconventional monetary policies as the lower yields slide, the lower the propensity to spend. In other words, the harder the Fed fights to stimulate inflation, the more deflation and more saving it spurs as a result (incidentally this is not the first time this “discovery” was made, in December we wrote “One Bank Makes A Stunning Discovery – The Fed’s Rate Cuts Are Now Deflationary“).

 

In short, ever since the Fed launched QE and NIRP, it has been making the situation it has been trying to “fix” even worse while blowing the biggest asset price bubble in history.

And having recently accepted that its preferred stimulus pathway has failed to boost the broader economy, the blame has fallen on how monetary policy is intermediated, specifically the way the Fed creates excess reserves which end up at commercial banks instead of “tricking down” all the way to the consumer level.

To be sure, in the aftermath of the covid pandemic shutdowns the Fed has tried to short-circuit this process, and in conjunction with the Treasury it has launched “helicopter money” which has resulted in a direct transfer of funds to US corporations via PPP loans, as well as to end consumers via the emergency $600 weekly unemployment benefits which however are set to expire unless renewed by Congress as explained last week, as Democrats and Republicans feud over which fiscal stimulus will be implemented next.

And yet, the lament is that even as the economy was desperately in need of a massive liquidity tsunami, the funds created by the Fed and Treasury (now that the US operates under a quasi-MMT regime) did not make their way to those who need them the most: end consumers.

Which is why we read with great interest a Bloomberg interview with two former Fed officials: Simon Potter, who led the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s markets group i.e., he was the head of the Fed’s Plunge Protection Team for years, and Julia Coronado, who spent eight years as an economist for the Fed’s Board of Governors, who are among the innovators brainstorming solutions to what has emerged as the most crucial and difficult problem facing the Fed: get money swiftly to people who need it most in a crisis.

 

The response was striking: the two propose creating a monetary tool that they call recession insurance bonds, which draw on some of the advances in digital payments, which will be wired instantly to Americans.

As Coronado explained the details, Congress would grant the Federal Reserve an additional tool for providing support—say, a percent of GDP [in a lump sum that would be divided equally and distributed] to households in a recession. Recession insurance bonds would be zero-coupon securities, a contingent asset of households that would basically lie in wait. The trigger could be reaching the zero lower bound on interest rates or, as economist Claudia Sahm has proposed, a 0.5 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. The Fed would then activate the securities and deposit the funds digitally in households’ apps.

As Potter added, “it took Congress too long to get money to people, and it’s too clunky. We need a separate infrastructure. The Fed could buy the bonds quickly without going to the private market. On March 15 they could have said interest rates are now at zero, we’re activating X amount of the bonds, and we’ll be tracking the unemployment rate—if it increases above this level, we’ll buy more. The bonds will be on the asset side of the Fed’s balance sheet; the digital dollars in people’s accounts will be on the liability side.”

Essentially, the Fed is proposing creating a hybrid digital legal tender unlike reserves which are stuck within the financial system, and which it can deposit directly into US consumer accounts. In short, as we summarized “The Fed Is Planning To Send Money Directly To Americans In The Next Crisis, something we reminded readers of on Monday:

So this morning, as if to confirm our speculation of what comes next, Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester delivered a speech to the Chicago Payment Symposium titled “Payments and the Pandemic“, in which after going through the big picture boilerplate, Mester goes straight to the matter at hand.

In the section titled “Central Bank Digital Currencies”, the Cleveland Fed president writes that “the experience with pandemic emergency payments has brought forward an idea that was already gaining increased attention at central banks around the world, that is, central bank digital currency (CBDC).”

And in the shocking punchline, then goes on to reveal that “legislation has proposed that each American have an account at the Fed in which digital dollars could be deposited, as liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks, which could be used for emergency payments.

But wait it gets better, because in launching digital cash, the Fed would then be able to scrap “anonymous” physical currency entirely, and track every single banknote from its “creation” all though the various transactions that take place during its lifetime. And, eventually, the Fed could remotely “destroy” said digital currency when it so decides. Oh, and in the process the Fed would effectively disintermediate commercial banks, as it would both provide loans to US consumers and directly deposit funds into their accounts, effectively making the entire traditional banking system obsolete. Here are the details:

Other proposals would create a new payments instrument, digital cash, which would be just like the physical currency issued by central banks today, but in a digital form and, potentially, without the anonymity of physical currency. Depending on how these currencies are designed, central banks could support them without the need for commercial bank involvement via direct issuance into the end-users’ digital wallets combined with central-bank-facilitated transfer and redemption services. The demand for and use of such instruments need further consideration in order to evaluate whether such a central bank digital currency would allow for quicker and more ubiquitous payments in times of emergency and more generally. In addition, a range of potential risks and policy issues surrounding central bank digital currency need to be better understood, and the costs and benefits evaluated.

The Federal Reserve has been researching issues raised by central bank digital currency for some time. The Board of Governors has a technology lab that has been building and testing a range of distributed ledger platforms to understand their potential benefits and tradeoffs. Staff members from several Reserve Banks, including Cleveland Fed software developers, are contributing to this effort. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is also engaged in a multiyear effort, working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to experiment with technologies that could be used for a central bank digital currency. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has established an innovation center, in partnership with the Bank for International Settlements, to identify and develop in-depth insights into critical trends and financial technology of relevance to central banks. Experimentation like this is an important ingredient in assessing the benefits and costs of a central bank digital currency, but does not signal any decision by the Federal Reserve to adopt such a currency. Issues raised by central bank digital currency related to financial stability, market structure, security, privacy, and monetary policy all need to be better understood.

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Why Price Inflation Indexes Are More Fake Than Ever

Posted by M. C. on August 29, 2020

There are restaurants that don’t have outside dining just takeout. I pass them by.

The Jos. A. Bank clothing store in downtown San Francisco has closed. There is a sign in the window of the closed store suggesting I visit their nearest store—in Sacramento, a 2 hour drive.

It goes on and on. The unmeasured decline in goods and services that Cowen references because of the lockdowns is major and certainly not measured by the government indexes. Our standard of living is crashing.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/08/why-price-inflation-indexes-are-more.html

Tyler Cowen makes some interesting points in his Bloomberg column:

The most obvious effect of the pandemic is often better understood by the public than by professional economists: It has been an inflationary time, but not in the traditional manner.

The measured numbers indicate deflationary pressures, but that is misleading. In times of crisis, any measured inflation rate becomes much less meaningful as an economic indicator.

Let’s take education, which many American students have been doing online or not receiving much of at all. Whether for K-12 or at the university level, the cost of getting a quality education this year has risen drastically (think private tutors) — and for many individuals it may be impossible altogether. We are seeing deteriorating quality, and thus much higher real prices, yet this does not show up as either a quality adjustment or a price increase in standard calculations.
Or consider health care. For months, Americans were afraid to visit hospital facilities, for fear of contracting Covid-19. The perceived cost of the hospital visit was thus much higher, in terms of anxiety and medical risk, even if the sticker price or reimbursement rate for heart surgery hasn’t budged.
In many parts of the country, the lines at the motor vehicle offices are much longer, or it is much more time-consuming to get your car inspected for state approval. That is mostly due to pent-up demand from the worst months of the pandemic…
Education, health care and government are pretty big parts of our economy. If you add on the lower quality of restaurant visits, reduced sports performances (your ESPN cable package is worth less), and an inability to take preferred vacations and trips, you have many more negative quality adjustments that don’t show up in measured rates of inflation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Fed and other institutions have declined to make formal adjustments for these changes in the real standard of living…
Inflation measures work best when the consumption bundle is roughly stable over short periods of time, and that just hasn’t been the case this year…
Perhaps most important, price rules and other forms of inflation rules don’t really work in times of pandemic. The very measurement of price inflation becomes arbitrary, and dependent on inertial measurement conventions from normal times, so the numbers don’t have enough actual economic meaning to guide policy.

Cowen makes these points in a wider essay discussing Fed decisions based on traditional price index measures, which I am less inclined to agree with, but his point here on how the quality of goods and services have declined during the lockdown is a very important observation.

Off the top of my head, I can think of instances where it applies to me.

The local Whole Foods maintains a count of the number of customers in its store and makes others wait outside until customers leave to keep the occupancy limited. I really don’t have time for this nonsense (a cost for me) and so I rarely visit anymore.

There are restaurants that don’t have outside dining just takeout. I pass them by.

The Jos. A. Bank clothing store in downtown San Francisco has closed. There is a sign in the window of the closed store suggesting I visit their nearest store—in Sacramento, a 2 hour drive.

It goes on and on. The unmeasured decline in goods and services that Cowen references because of the lockdowns is major and certainly not measured by the government indexes. Our standard of living is crashing.

RW

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Watch “7 into 28” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2020

Smarter than Congress. The Fed will make up the difference.

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Doug Casey: “We’re actually confronting the degradation of Western Civilization itself” | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2020

By studying their tactics, you will be more prepared to guard against, and counter-attack the enemy.

The current crisis is being used to exploit the masses. But it also presents tremendous opportunity to take the power back, and reshape this world.

Society is entering a new period of transition, a struggle that will reveal the elites of the next generation.

Now is the time to seize your power if you intend to be among their ranks.

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/doug-casey-were-actually-confronting-the-degradation-of-western-civilization-itself/

By Joe Jarvis

Matt Smith hosts Doug Casey, and the two manage to boil down certain elements of what brought us to where we are today, as Doug says, to “the moral corruption of society.”

Doug Casey, for anyway unfamiliar, is a writer and speculator– an anarcho-capitalist influenced by Ayn Rand.

Matt Smith is the CEO of Royalty Exchange, a company which provides investments in music and other intellectual property, for instance by selling royalty catalogs of Eminem’s music.

In regards to the economic cliff America is teetering on the edge of, Doug Casey says America’s attitude is that:

The Fed will print up new money and make it good. This is part of the moral corruption of society, where nobody has to take any responsibility for anything, from the little things to the big things, because the ‘Great White Father’ the cornucopia in Washington will kiss everything and make it better.

This isn’t just a monetary and economic disaster we’re looking at. It’s actually a moral disaster as well.

Matt Smith responds:

It’s like this safety first culture has permeated everything. All the way from bicycle helmets, to bailing out the airlines so that they don’t go bankrupt, to anything else you could imagine. It’s like any short term injury is seen as the ultimate evil that must be avoided at all costs.

Doug talks about the first time he heard the term “politically correct” which was back in the day on Saturday Night Live. It was a joke that you would have to watch what you say, for fear of political repercussions. He points out it’s not so different from “politically unreliable” as the Soviets used to say.

Doug believes:

We’re actually confronting the degradation of Western Civilization itself. This is much more serious than the Greater Depression, that we have definitely embarked upon. Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall… Look, the world is going to be very very different, in the next few years. Assuming even we don’t have something resembling WorldWar III. Which is entirely possible.

Matt agreed, commenting:

One of the things that dawned on me in the early stages of this, you could see this virus making its way across the world. You could see it coming. You could see that there were going to be implications… it doesn’t even matter how serious the virus actually is… you could see the effect it was having as it was making waves through the different countries it was going through.

From China, welding people into their apartments, to Italy completely going on lockdown, and overrunning hospitals. You could see it coming. And I remember in the midst of that, before it really got here in any great extent, Kim Jung Un launched a couple of missile.

And I thought wow, you could see how that could explode, to try and distract his own people, or you know, you could just see all these, it’s like a tinderbox, lots of little things could happen for their own internal, political reasons, could strike out and lead to much larger conflict.

Matt talks about a struggle between needing reform, and the sad reality that too often bad systems are replaced with something worse:

The total loss of faith in institutions, that they are demonstrably incompetent, and that nobody believes in them anymore, and so they get flushed away. And I think in that flushing away there is an opportunity, because they need to be flushed away, right? Because they are so corrupt, and flawed.

But it’s also frightening what might come in replacing it.

They also talk about gold, bitcoin, voluntarism, state governments standing up against the Feds, and the good habit of disobeying bad laws.

It’s really a great episode, and I encourage you to listen to the entire thing.

I’ve had the pleasure of learning from Matt Smith on a few occasions, at an entrepreneurship camp he co-founded.

He is one of a handful of people whose opinions and perspective I respect most in the world. Not just because of his business success, but also because of his philosophy on life.

His podcast is a must-listen for any value creators.

 

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Day of Shame: US House Approved $2 Trillion Everything Bailout on a Voice Vote – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 1, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/david-stockman/day-of-shame-us-house-approves-2-trillion-everything-bailout-on-a-voice-vote/

By

David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Did we say it’s getting stupid crazy down there in the Imperial City?

Well, we probably have….ad infinitum. And we are doing so again but not merely owing to today’s abomination in the once and former Peoples’ House, which thinks so little of its oath to defend the constitution and the rights of current and future taxpayers that it approved the $2 trillion Everything Bailout without even a roll call vote.

Then again, like the late night TV pitchman says – wait, there’s more!

Consider the chart below, which surely the Fed heads have not. To wit, it took the Fed 85 years after its doors opened in 1914 to print enough money to fund a $600 billion balance sheet.

It wasn’t exactly the Ohio State offense – three yards and a cloud of dust – which accomplished this. But it was pretty close – even including Greenspan’s first years at the helm. Between the famous Treasury Accord in 1951, under which the Fed was liberated from Treasury-ordered yield pegging, and 1999, its balance sheet grew at a modest 5.2% per annum.

And, by your way, the Fed’s relative stinginess with the printing press was a great big no nevermind. Real GDP grew at 3.4% per annum over that near half-century period, and real median family income more than doubled from $35,000 to $74,000.

We are pondering the number “$600 billion” today because its capsulizes the insanity loose in the Imperial City. What took 95 years to accomplish in the purportedly benighted 20th century, has now taken just five days!

You truly cannot make this stuff up. The Fed has purchased $622 billion of USTs and MBS since March 19th, meaning that its balance sheet has expanded from $4.75 trillion last Thursday evening to $5.372 trillion last night….

The rest here

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