Tag Archives: Ben Bernanke

In Deep with Michelle Ray – 9/13

When: Thursday, August 30th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: In Deep with Michelle Ray on Blog Talk Radio

What: Join Social Media Director of ConservativeDailyNews.com, Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) as she discusses the issues that impact America.

Tonight: Tj Thompson (@_TjThompson) fills in for Michelle. Middle East violence, QE3, and Conservative Daily News contributors Liz Harrison (@GoldwaterGal) and Eye Desert (@EyeDesertBlog) discuss whether libertarians have a role in the GOP

Dollar slides ahead of Fed meeting outcome

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve, is meeting for the second time in so many days to determine what actions, if any, to take to help America’s flagging economy.

Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are largely anticipated to institute another round of Quantitative Easing (QE3) as a means to stimulating the U.S. economy. The U.S. stock market is expecting that the Fed will act and the U.S. dollar indicates the same expectation.

The dollar is off ahead of the announcement as QE is the act of “printing money” and pumping it into the economy:

As the dollar suffered from expectations for QE – which would be equal to printing money and diluting the value of the currency – the euro stayed near four-month highs against the U.S. currency, helped by the signs the euro zone may be starting to get on top of its debt troubles.

Expected Fed actions include an estimated $500 billion in purchases of long term treasury notes. A move designed to lower interest rates in hopes of stimulating borrowing and investment.

91% of Chief Financial Officers polled said their firms would not change their spending if QE3 was able to lower interest rates by as much as a full point indicating that interest rates are not the economic inhibitor the Fed believes.

Campbell Harvey, a finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Busines, said that “there is stark evidence that QE3 would be a wasted effort.”

The dilution of the dollar would likely have further impact to every-day Americans. Everything from gas to heating fuel and groceries would become more expensive. As the government’s CPI inflation index doesn’t measure these items, no official inflation would be shown. Consumers will likely see their budgets squeezed from items the government sees fit to ignore.

The FOMC will hold a press conference today at 12:30am Eastern. The FOMC members will announce their decision at 2pm and chairman Ben Bernanke will hold his own conference at 2:30pm Eastern this afternoon.

QE3: Seriously?

Quantitative Easing is simply the introduction of money into the economy by a central bank. It has been done twice during the current recession with no positive effects and Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve seems ready to launch version three – often referred to as QE3.

QE1

QE1 launched on November 25th, 2008 with a Federal Reserve initiated purchase of $500 Billion in mortgage-backed securities with the hope of lowering borrowing costs in order to stimulate the drowning housing market. The fed later bought several hundred billion dollars of securities from troubled entities such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan banks.

By buying up assets from private institutions, it lowered the risk those institutions possessed and would theoretically lower the cost of borrowing money.

Finding asset purchases to not be doing enough, the Federal Reserve lowered the key interest rate to .25%.

More troubled-asset buyouts occurred through 2009 and the Fed started to aggressively buy Treasury notes.

QE1 lasted until the end of March 2010 and resulted in 30-year mortgage rates dropping from 6.33% in late 2008 to 5.23% at the end of Q1 2010. $1.25 trillion was invested in asset purchases by the Federal Reserve during QE1.

QE2

QE2 went from November 3rd 2010 to June 30th of 2011.

Bought $600 billion of longer term treasuries by selling off short-term agency assets.

Although some economists had expected the move to keep interest rates low, 30-year fixed mortgage rates actually climbed .5%.

The Maturity Extension Program (aka “Operation Twist”)

By the end of 2012, the Federal Reserve hopes to put downward pressure on long term interest rates by selling a portion of its sizable inventory of long term Treasury bonds in trade for shorter term notes. By selling the longer term notes, it is expected that prices for those bonds will increase, thereby decreasing the yield or interest on them. Operation twist is not quantitative easing as it adds no net money supply due to the trading of one security for another.

Operation Twist started in the fall of 2011 and offers both good and bad news. The bad news is that it doesn’t seem to be doing very much to help the economy. Long term interest rates are at historic lows and the economy is not accelerating. This again points to the fact that borrowing costs are not the major issue holding the economy back.

One thing of note is that the sell-off of long-term Treasuries is exactly opposite of the Fed move in QE2. QE2 was about economic stimulus by lowering risk. Twist is focused on affecting interest rates in order to encourage borrowing. Neither addresses the fundamental issues of over-regulation, over-taxation and a White House opposed to free markets.

QE1 / QE2 Results

The effect on the economy from QE1 and QE2 are heavily-debated. Many experts discuss the inflationary effect that pumping so much money into the economy has while others state that banks actually never turned around and lent the money – it was used to shore up their own reserves so that the financial system did not fundamentally collapse.

While interest rates are at their lowest in recorded history, the housing and commercial real estate markets have yet to see a bounce to the upside. The real estate bubble was caused by banks being forced to loan to those that could not afford it – not by high interest rates. Lowering interest rates didn’t make those folks any more able to take on a mortgage than they were 5 years ago.

Lowering interest rates should also help corporations get funding – if only they wanted it. Large companies are sitting on their money out of distrust of the current administration and oppressive regulation. Making it a tiny bit less expensive to borrow doesn’t allay those concerns. In a recent World Economic Forum report, exactly those concerns were listed as a major reason for downgrading the U.S. economy’s competitive ranking to #7 (from #1 in 2008).

For the experts that claim that the money supply didn’t grow to higher levels during QE1 and QE2.. here’s some real chart data for you. According to the experts at Shadowstats.com (chart right) the supply of currency and coin grew substantially during the months that quantitative easing was occurring. M1 is the measure  of money in circulation and the chart says it all.

The effect of a constantly increasing money supply is inevitably inflation. Defined as “a greater number of dollars searching for a diminished number of goods” inflation occurs due to the declining buying power each dollar represents. Our dollar has its value pinned to our Gross Domestic Product which has been growing at a much slower rate than M1. Price inflation is the only possible outcome.

QE3

Ben Bernanke and his cohorts at the Federal Reserve began meeting again today. The markets are anticipating another round of Treasury buys, asset buyouts and short to long term asset roll-overs to come out of the meeting. All of which is intended to bring long term interest rates down.

Should another round of quantitative easing (QE3) occur, it will certainly continue to inflate the price of non-bond assets and long-term bonds as more investors will walk away from the anemic yields on long term notes. Stocks will continue to see price increases despite a flagging economy which may slow private investment in the economy.

The money pumped into the economy will further increase M1 and decrease buying power for the average consumer. The inflation that all grocery shoppers, electricity users and gasoline buyers have been seeing will continue – even though the government’s measure (which leaves out food and fuel) will continue to show the success of QE with no ill effects.

The real question is why it’s being done? So far, QE has neither bouyed the economy nor re-invigorated it. The housing market is still in shambles and employment is unimproved. With only two months until the election and his chairmanship on the line if President Obama loses, Bernanke may be playing politics with the American economy.

Inflation expectations are for as much as a 5% peak consumer prices in the very near future As Tyler Durden of Zerohedge.com wrote:

CPI remains below 2% but there is a clear lag between the rise in market-implied inflation and it showing up in the unicorn-laden CPI prints – what this means is that given the hubris of the Fed yesterday,market expectations of inflation are inferring CPI could rise to over 5% within the next 3 to 6 months.

The 2013 Tax Increase obama Pledged Would Never Happen

If the White House and Congress don’t act this year, a huge, unprecedented tax increase described by Ben Bernanke as a “massive fiscal cliff” will slam American taxpayers. This looming tax hike will result mostly from letting long-standing tax policies expire at the end of 2012.

Instead of waiting until after November’s election, obama should stop campaigning for a moment and start working with Congress to prevent this gargantuan tax increase from taking place. Not only would doing so give assurance to families, businesses, and investors that taxes won’t be rising while the economy is still staggering. It would also show that obama is capable of chewing gum and walking at the same time.

The tax increase, also known as “Taxmageddon” is a $494 billion hike. If action isn’t taken, current law dictates that seven different categories will witness expiring tax policies, while five new obamacare tax increases begin.

Approximately 34% of the tax increase come from letting the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire. Best known for cutting marginal income tax rates, the reductions also lowered the marriage penalty, increased the child and adoption tax credits, while increasing tax breaks for the costs of dependent care and education. Contrary to “progressive” rhetoric, these taxes have a direct effect on the lives of people in all income tax brackets, not just evil rich people who “don’t pay their fair share”.

Another 25% comes from the expiration of the highly debated payroll tax cut. The expiration of a patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax, which prevents middle-income families from paying a tax intended for “the rich” accounts for another 24% of the hike.

The obamacare tax increases, hidden from public view by “progressive” deceit and delay tactics, begin kicking in with one of the most damaging taxes in the law, a 3.8% Hospital Insurance surtax on wages, as well as on salaries and investment income over $250,000.

To top that off, the so-called death tax also expires in 2013. The rate will rise from 35 percent today to 55 percent and the exemption will fall from $5 million to $3.5 million. Then there’s the end of the tax cuts contained in the 2009 stimulus and the expiration of full write-offs for new business capital investments.

Since 2007 obama has had an ongoing, oft repeated mantra: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year…which includes a 98 percent of small-business owners, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime under my plan. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, no tax. We don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class! You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat, not one single dime.”

Never mind that he broke that pledge by signing a tax increase on tobacco in early 2009. As a mere voter, you’re too stupid to notice such minor, unimportant details. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.

Apparently the only one “smart” enough to realize that tobacco use in America is restricted to those with incomes exceeding $250,000 a year is the former community radicalizer from Chicago. You may know of him. He’s the one who’s entire college and medical history have been hidden from public view since the day he first infected the Oval Office with his faux transparency, un-kept promises, aggressively anti-American views, anti-business policies, war on religious liberties, attack on affordable energy, intentionally divisive identity politics rhetoric and non-stop campaigning for what would prove for America to be a disastrous second term.

If this is how he behaves while he’s politically obligated to mask his true intentions from undecided voters during an election year, the entire globe will live to regret an extended obama presidency for decades, in not for a century or more.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/the-2013-tax-increase-obama-pledged-would-never-happen/

Fed's Bernanke Props Up EU With Loan-sharking Scheme

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has reached out to Europe in what is being mischaracterized across America as just another European bailout. Bernanke realizes the U.S. Congress would never allow the Federal Reserve to put the U.S. Economy at further risk by directly bailing out the European Socialists, in which we are already exposed to the tune of owning 20% of the IMF debt-fund, which is basically bankrupt. The EU announced that they would be increasing the cash flow to prevent several countries from going insolvent a short while back, in hinting that China and Japan would agree to buy up more European debt. The only problem there,  is that China refused to buy into that scheme without seeing solid austerity measures put into place, which the EU refused, or was incapable of doing.  Simply put,  Europe was a very bad credit risk, and China turned them down which was very embarrassing to the EU grand banking manipulators, who had already announced more cash was on the way.  

Understanding Bernanke’s Loan-Sharking Scheme

Bernanke then decided to play the role of loan-shark king, in lowering interest rates for dollar swap lines to the ECB (European Central Bank) along with cooperation from four other major central banks (Canada, England, Japan, and Switzerland). Bernanke is attaching the European debt crisis exposure to the banking systems of the other 4 country’s mentioned above in a move to cloud the fact that he is lending more money ( and collecting lower interest rates) to the European Socialists Union, which should actually have been declared bankrupt over a year ago. Does anyone believe for one minute that Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and England are going to put their economies at risk by buying into the debt-disaster of the EU, the IMF, the ECB and the EFSF? Of course not. The EFSF, or the European Financial Stability Fund ( boy is that an oxymoron if ever there was one) has yet to explain just what their role will play in all of this.

Yet globalists paint this scheme in a rosy hue by declaring that the European Central Bank, which has been reluctant to intervene to stop the growing crisis on its own continent, was joined in the decision by the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the central banks of Canada, Japan and Switzerland. Central banks will make it cheaper for commercial banks in their countries to borrow dollars, the dominant currency of trade. Just what effects will this have on the value of the U.S. dollar, long-term? But while it should ease borrowing for banks, it does little to solve the underlying problem of mountains of government debt in Europe, leaving markets still waiting for a permanent fix. What is that term Obama and Congress love to toss at the American public so often today? That’s right, they use the “We can’t continue to kick the can down the road” analogy constantly, yet this is exactly what the EU and Bernanke are condoning with this latest move.  Where do Germany and France stand on all of this?

The stock markets rallied upon Bernanke’s announcement of the Fed lowering its dollar-swap interest rate, and China’s easing of it’s monetary policy for the first time in several years by reducing bank reserve requirements by 50 basis points. This may be the first of several Chinese easing moves, and it certainly added to the stock surge. Again, take note that China is not willing to buy into the EU debt-disaster, but instead slightly lowers their bank reserve mandates. Also missing from this equation are the two biggest economic elephants in the middle of the EU, France and Germany. Simply put, after Deutshe Bank of Germany received massive bailout funds from the IMF, EFSF, and the ECB schemes that prevented them from suffering massive losses due to the previous buying of EU debt , and they now refuse to take the risks to provide any funding to bailout Greece, Italy or anyone else in the EU, including the newly exposed and problematic French debt-crisis.

The bottom line here is that this is all just another batch of phony solutions to a rapidly-expanding European debt-crisis that was created by the Euro-Zone Globalists, and which is heavily rooted in anti-capitalistic, utopian Socialism and the ever-present denial of the realities of their irresponsible actions.  Nothing has been solved here, much to the dismay of Ben Bernanke, who actually believes that this latest loan-sharking scheme will fool Congress into somehow thinking that Bernanke waved his magic wand and thus prevented the European insolvency that China now sees as inevitable. ( as is proven in their refusal to further buy into the European Socialists massive debt problem nightmare)  Are we to believe that the ECB can just write a trillion dollar check to further prop up the EU’s fast-growing number of bankrupt countries? On top of that, how can the IMF expect to be allowed to borrow another $800 billion from the ECB to give those same bankrupt countries even more money? The bottom line is that they can’t, simply because the money just isn’t there, especially with Germany and France now refusing to participate in any further bailouts without the creation of a New EU treaty. Merkel and Sarkozy have made Europe into a Communist collective that was built on the Socialistic catch-phrase of  denying protectionism, or the rights of European countries to control their own economies through implementing sound fiscal policies. Now they want out of the communist collectivism that they have created to protect their own countries from falling off of the debt-cliff that Italy, Greece, Spain, and other EU infected countries are now on the edge of.  For the proof of Merkel and Sarkozy’s stealth demand for German and French “protectionism” from the European debt-crisis they helped to create,  check out this article neatly titled,  EU Planning a New Treaty. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first, we practice to deceive.  Sir Walter Scott, 1771 – 1832.

 

 

 

August 25th 7p Pacific/10p Eastern – Mitchell & Ray: Bernanke, QE3, Indiana girls gone wild and Ron Paul

CDNews-Radio-LogoShow Time: Thursday August 18th, 7pm pacific, 8pm Mountain, 9pm Central, 10pm Eastern

Tune In: CDNews Radio: Mitchell & Ray

Call in: Be part of the program – call in to the show: (424) 220-1807

Guests: Nicole Pearce and Andrew Staroska from Truth About Bills.

Show Topics: Join in the discussion on Bernanke’s announcement tomorrow, to QE3 or not, the Indiana girls, Buffet and BOA, Christie v. fracking, No child left behind waibers Ron Paul and more.

Show Archive:

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Links from the Show:

 

Hear recordings of past shows: CDN On-Air Archives


Food and Energy Inflation Is Not Transitory

FORT LEE, N.J., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday held his first press conference in history. The press conference took place shortly after the Fed announced its decision to leave the Fed Funds Rate at a record low of 0% to 0.25%, where it has been for an unprecedented 28 months. The U.S. economy is flooded with U.S. dollars and is close to overdosing on excess liquidity. The fact that our financial markets are not falling on the possibility of the Fed not unleashing QE3 immediately at the end of QE2 shows that we could be on the verge of hyperinflation with or without QE3.

The Federal Reserve currently has a mandate of both maintaining price stability and facilitating job creation. However, central banks don’t have the ability to create real employment. If any jobs happen to be created as a result of a central bank’s policies, they are only temporary jobs created due to the errors and distortions of phony asset bubbles. All phony asset bubbles that are fueled by monetary inflation eventually burst, sending unemployment through the roof.

Almost every major central bank besides the Federal Reserve understands the truth about job creation, and has a mandate that focuses solely on keeping price inflation low. The Bank of Japan, Swiss National Bank, Bank of Canada, and Bank of New Zealand, all have mandates that are entirely about low inflation and don’t even mention the creation of jobs or the rate of employment. Bernanke said on Wednesday that, “while it is very, very important for us to try to help the economy create jobs and to support the recovery, I think every central banker understands that keeping inflation low and stable is absolutely essential to a successful economy.”

Bernanke has decided to go down a route that no central banker has ever gone before. Bernanke has literally invented countless ways to create inflation that nobody else has ever thought of. If keeping inflation low was ever Bernanke’s slightest concern, the Fed Funds Rate would currently be north of 5% and the U.S. economy would be in a steep recession. Bernanke has never once thought about keeping inflation low. He has literally implemented every measure he could possibly think of to create as much inflation as possible, while outright lying to the American public and saying that he isn’t printing money and that inflation is under control.

Bernanke would like the public to believe that his policies of expanding the money supply through cheap and easy money will cause the U.S. economy to recover and unemployment to decline back to pre-crisis levels, and that right before price inflation spirals out of control, he can raise interest rates and prevent massive price inflation without disrupting the recovery. Unfortunately, this is impossible because the recovery isn’t real and massive price inflation is already here. Bernanke’s policies may have created 1 million artificial jobs since December of 2009, after 8.75 million jobs were lost in the previous two years, but he did this at the expense of 310 million Americans already seeing double-digit percentage increases in food and energy prices.

Since after the Real Estate bubble burst in late-2008, the primary economic concern of Americans has been finding a stable job in order to make mortgage payments and put food on the table. Under the pressure of Congress, the Fed printed enough money to prevent a much needed recession that would be healthy for the long-term U.S. economy. In its attempt to reinflate the Real Estate bubble, the Fed has been destroying the free market and creating new economic distortions, which caused an artificial bounce in the rate of employment. Unfortunately, when you add together the money the Fed has either printed or committed for bailouts and stimulus programs, over $4 million has been spent for each job created. The Fed would have been better off just crediting the bank accounts of unemployed Americans with the average U.S. income.

When asked about rising gas prices, NIA is very happy that Chairman Bernanke acknowledged that gas prices “have risen quite significantly” and are “creating a great deal of financial hardship for a lot of people”. Bernanke admitted that gas is a “necessity” as “people need to drive to work” for the artificial jobs Bernanke created at a cost of $4 million per job. However, Bernanke seemed to be confused when he said “higher gas prices add to inflation”. The truth is, Bernanke’s zero percent interest rates and quantitative easing are the inflation, and inflation leads to higher gas prices.

Bernanke is directly responsible for gas prices rising back to $3.87 per gallon, yet refuses to admit it. Bernanke placed the blame on the growing global and emerging market economies, and their strong demand for oil. He said that America’s demand for oil is going down, which NIA believes is actually due to the U.S. dollar losing its purchasing power and Americans seeing their standard of living decline. Bernanke said there is nothing that he can do about rising oil and gas prices “without derailing growth entirely”. The truth is, Bernanke already derailed growth entirely when he derailed the free market. It is impossible to see real economic growth when a government and central bank is interfering in every aspect of the economy and impeding the free market in every possible way. All nominal GDP growth in the U.S., along with growth in retail sales, is solely due to inflation. Even when the government adjusts GDP and retail sales growth to the rate of inflation, it is based off of the consumer price index, which NIA believes is currently understating price inflation by approximately 4%.

Although Bernanke denies he has the ability to reduce gas prices, he claims he can prevent “gas prices from passing into other prices and wages throughout the economy and creating a broader inflation which will be much more difficult to extinguish.” Bernanke obviously doesn’t want Americans to see higher wages because he believes it could lead to broader inflation, but NIA believes rising wages would be a good thing. Inflation hurts Americans most when the rate of inflation is far outpacing wage increases. The fact is, the U.S. is already experiencing broad inflation even without wage increases.

Bernanke’s brand new favorite word as of late seems to be “transitory”, which he used about a dozen times during his press conference. Despite what Bernanke says, NIA strongly believes that rising food and gas prices are not transitory. Bernanke likes the word “transitory” because he can use it to try and pretend that rising food and gas prices are only just a temporary phenomenon and that their current high levels aren’t here to stay. Many Americans can remember the day 40 years ago when a can of Coca-Cola cost a dime and a Hershey chocolate bar cost a nickel, with a gallon of gas back then costing only thirty-five cents. Have rising food and gas prices over the past four decades been transitory?

NIA first predicted two years ago in its documentary ‘Hyperinflation Nation’, that rising food and gas prices would soon become the primary concern of all American citizens as a result of the Fed’s dangerous and destructive monetary policies. Bernanke back then claimed that inflation would not be a problem and said that the U.S. risked deflation. If Bernanke has been so wrong about the inflation that Americans are faced with today, NIA doesn’t see how anybody can possibly believe that Bernanke will be right and that current high food and gas prices aren’t here to stay. In our opinion, the food and gas price inflation that Americans have experienced over the past 40 years, is likely to occur all over again during the next 4 years. NIA believes that 4 years from now, Americans will look back at the good old days of having cheap $4 a gallon gas.

The last thing the U.S. government wants is for the American public to realize that Bernanke is responsible for rising food and gas prices. If the public demanded to end the Federal Reserve, the government will no longer be able to spend recklessly knowing that the Fed will be there to monetize their deficit spending. In an attempt to make up excuses for rising gas prices and deflect attention away from the Fed, Congress has been pressuring the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the matter. Attorney General Eric Holder just announced the formation of the Oil & Gas Price Fraud Working Group. The stated purpose of this working group is to monitor the oil and gas markets for potential violations of criminal or civil laws to safeguard against unlawful consumer harm.

NIA considers this to be complete insanity. Any government interference in the oil markets will only drive oil prices up even higher. Oil prices are rising solely do to supply and demand. Demand is going through the roof because the Federal Reserve is creating a lot of inflation, and inflation always gravitates to the goods that Americans need the most to live and survive. Oil supplies are falling because President Obama has ordered U.S. troops to occupy Libya. In the past we at least made up excuses to invade countries like Iraq over oil by claiming they had weapons of mass destruction. Today, the U.S. government doesn’t even bother. Obama campaigned as an anti-war President, saying he would bring our troops home from the middle-east. Instead, he has increased our middle-east troop levels, and the sheep who voted for him are showing absolutely no signs of outrage.

visit: http://inflation.us for more information

Is Obama Pursuing a Weak Dollar Policy?

Paul Volcker - Obama's Chief Economic Advisor

Paul Volcker - Obama's Chief Economic Advisor

Within a few days of Obama entering the White House, Tim Geithner stated that a strong dollar is in the best interest of our economy.  The actions taken to date and some historical analysis of Obama’s chief economic advisor, Paul Volcker, would point at a policy of continued weakening of the U.S. currency.  If the dollar continues it’s slide just an additional 5% it will be at be at an all-time low.

Today, the Wall Street Journal published an article stating that, “Pacific Rim government leaders will tell U.S. President Barack Obama about global concerns over the falling dollar and burgeoning U.S. debt at a summit this week..”.  Their concerns are well founded and can be grouped together with those of the Chinese, European Union, Brazil and Canada.

One indicator of the Administration’s desire for an even-weaker dollar is it’s push to have China stop managing it’s currency and allow it to float.  If that happens, the only possibility is a stronger yuan, and therefor a weaker dollar.  Furthermore, on October 31st of this year, Obama said that the U.S. economy should be based even more on exports.  In order for that to occur, our currency needs to greatly weaken against those of countries we have a large trade imbalance with.. like China.

A weak dollar isn’t all bad news as long as the decline is controlled, slow, and has a desired end-point.  When the dollar weakens, international exports from America become less-expensive for others to buy.  This increases foreign demand for American products.  This only works when the American products don’t require components from other countries as those items are imports and will cost much more under a weakened U.S. currency.

One implication of a weak dollar is inflation.  As the dollar weakens, so does it’s purchasing power.  Imports become more expensive which will relieve downward-pressure on domestic products allowing those items to increase in price as well.  The dollar is also how all trades in oil are transacted.  As the dollar weakens, crude gets more expensive.  Considering that petroleum is an input into so much of our economy (fuel for trains, trucks, planes, ingredient in plastics, rubber, etc), it hits Americans both directly in the gas tank and indirectly in stores, restaurants and vacation spots.

Carter era gas lines

Carter era gas lines

The last sustained depreciation of the dollar was during 1977 and 1978.  There are some striking resemblances to that bleak period in U.S. economic history to today.  We have a liberal Administration, we have hostages in Iran (I’m fairly certain that is not linked to the weak dollar), and Paul Volcker is back.  During the late 70’s Volcker was the Federal Reserve chairman and directly orchestrated the dollar’s collapse – on purpose.  Gas, groceries, imports and just about everything else got insanely expensive as double-digit inflation hit the pocketbooks of U.S. citizens.

We’ve seen a too-weak dollar before and it wasn’t pretty.  Now we have some of the same people, trying the same thing, again.

Economy Nearing Carter-Era Catastrophe – Volcker Present Again

Jobless RecoveryInterpreting the latest unemployment report could make one’s head spin, but there is valuable information in it other than the tragic 10.2% unemployment rate and the fact that the economy has shed an additional 190,000 jobs in the last month.  Yahoo news points at a separate survey that shows 558,000 more people were unemployed in October than September.  This discrepancy is due to the fact that once someone gives up looking for a job or runs out of benefits, they are not longer technically “unemployed”.

Paul Volcker, the President’s chief economic adviser, and others are pointing to the idea that perhaps this is a jobless recovery.  To be a jobless recovery – first, one would expect a recovery.  If the economy were recovering, credit wouldn’t be shrinking, banks would be mending, and consumers would be spending.  In direct contradiction to a jobless recovery:

5 banks failed this week, 121 for this year alone:

United Commercial Bank, San Francisco, CA
Gateway Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Prosperan Bank, Oakdale, MN
Home Federal Savings Bank, Detroit, MI
United Security Bank, Sparta, GA

Consumer spending dropped by the largest amount in nine months:
Consumer Spending Falls In September, Biggest Drop In Nine Months

Consumer confidence drops in October:
Consumer Confidence Survey

Real incomes flat and spending drops relative to inflation:

Income Flat, Spending Falls as Consumers Stay Wary

The sources vary, but are consistent.  We are not experiencing a jobless recovery, we are heading into a jobless stagnation.  This is exactly where we were during the Carter years, we are following the same actions under some of the same people, and are expecting a different result.

Many credit Volcker’s fed for ending inflation during the Reagan era by invoking a recession to reign-in out-of-control inflation.  The problem being, we don’t have any inflation.  With real-incomes dropping, consumption dissipating and credit drying-up, there is not way for producers to raise prices and expect anyone to buy much of anything.  So is the recent push of massive government spending an attempt to re-ignite inflation so that Bernanke and Volcker can work together to end it and save us all?

Carter era gas lines

Carter era gas lines

During the early 80’s, Volcker created a recession on purpose by tightening monetary policy.  His Keynesian theory then was that it was more important to reign-in inflation than save jobs.  This measure was actually needed only because of  failed Keynesian thought that continuing inflation was good for the economy.  Using monetarist policies, he corrected what Keynesian thought had brought about.

The problem now is that we don’t have job growth and we don’t have inflation.  The massive amounts of cash being poured into the economy by the Fed are not inducing price increases, it’s just watering down the money supply.  Money is being dumped into the stock market at alarming rates, mainly because there’s nowhere else for it to go.  Buying bonds is self-defeating considering the Treasury rates, investing in business at this time is suicidal.. Bernanke is using failed tactics probably at the behest of Obama’s chief adviser on the economy.  Monetary deflation with no corresponding economic inflation.

This looks like an orchestrated attempt to cause inflation so that we can do the same things that we did before.  Dump trillions into the economy and eventually producers will raise prices… well..  what if they don’t?   What if we just end up with a dept to income ratios (debt-to-GDP) rate of 70%+ (we’re at 66% by the way)?  We could easily end up spending everything that comes into this country to just service debt.  The Japanese have lost a decade of growth to thinking like this.

It’s time to cut spending, quit dumping money into the economy, let the pain correct the bubble that exists and move forward.  The Fed created the near hyper-inflationary mess that cost Carter his Presidency, made a mess during Bush’s stay, and is trying to put us in a place where they have any clue of what to do.  I am fairly certain that they don’t know how to get us to that place or a healthy economy.

While Obama is busy blaming bush, he has kept on the one person probably the most-responsible for the mess we have – Bernanke.  The President has also brought Carter’s Volcker back into the mix and Barack is egging them both on.  One can hope this is more due to nativity than purpose.