Poverty Matters for Capitalists

Worse Off

Having taken Thomas Piketty to the cleaners a few weeks back (see “Gave & Gave … and Hay”), Charles Gave now redresses the balance with regard to the issue of economic inequality in today’s Outside the Box. He makes a forceful case that “poverty matters for capitalists”: Every US recession that I can recall was preceded by a fall in long rates, and I doubt the next will be much different. As such, do not expect the next US downturn to arise from the Federal Reserve pushing rates higher, an overvalued dollar or even mal-investments. Expect it to result from a decline in the income of the working poor. Early warning signs are likely to show up in the shopping aisles of stores such as … [Read more...]

How Low Inflation in Europe Could Affect Your Investments in the U.S.

Dollar vs Euro

Last December, we explained why central bankers are terrified of economies that slip into a very difficult to stop deflationary spiral. European policymakers are not yet terrified, but it is fair to say they are concerned about what has been persistent low inflation. From Reuters: Euro zone price inflation fell unexpectedly in May, increasing the risks of deflation in the currency area and all-but sealing the case for the European Central Bank to act this week. Annual consumer inflation in the 18 countries sharing the euro fell to 0.5 percent in May from 0.7 percent in April, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat said on Tuesday.   Fed Casts A Wider Economic Net Unlike the … [Read more...]

What are Excess Reserves and How Could they Spark Inflation?

Excess Reserves

How can you possibly have too many reserves? You would think that the more reserves the healthier the institution and so there would be no such thing as "excess reserves". We've mentioned this in previous articles such as FED Looks for New Ways to Crank Up Money Supply and How “Excess Reserves” and the Money Multiplier Could Trigger Inflation but excess reserves are in the news once again as Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser says that that "excess reserves" could push inflation dramatically higher. Well, we have been telling you that for quite some time so it shouldn't be news to long time readers. But if you are new to InflationData... What are Excess … [Read more...]

Various Methods of Calculating Inflation

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Why are There So Many Different Ways to Calculate Inflation? We've all heard the old saying, "Figures don't lie but liars figure"  or perhaps "You can make numbers say anything you want".  Both of these sayings contain the underlying assumption  (or at least possibility) of malicious intent. But even if you have the raw data and  just want to get at the truth, number calculations can present difficulties because the answer you get can depend on how you analyze it. For instance, you would think that if you want to know the "average" income of a group of 10 people it would be easy to calculate. And if all the incomes are relatively closely grouped it is easy... simply add them all up and … [Read more...]

Is the Federal Reserve Right About Inflation?

Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve serves as the Central Bank of the United States, and whether you realize it or not, it plays an active role in the lives of every American. It makes decisions about monetary policy and interest rates that have a direct impact on the market and an indirect impact on everyone. The FED uses inflation targets to determine how much they can devalue (inflate) the currency. Many people believe that they created a massive money printing scheme cryptically called "Quantitative Easing"since QE1 converted almost worthless mortgage backed securities into currency. The Fed regularly issues statements about how inflation isn't really as bad as everyone says it … [Read more...]

How “Excess Reserves” and the Money Multiplier Could Trigger Inflation

Excess Reserves

Banks have $2.5 trillion parked in "excess reserves". This is money on deposit with the FED. The FED pays a miniscule amount of interest on these reserves but the banks are willing to loan it to the FED because it is easy no risk income. But it is also the reason that the money multiplier is falling! And when the money multiplier is falling the FED has a very hard time increasing the money supply. So if the FED really wants to increase the money supply all it has to do is decrease the interest rate it pays on excess reserves and the banks will find some place else to deploy it. Which could trigger massive inflation. ~Tim McMahon,editor A Fed Policy Change That Will Increase the Gold … [Read more...]

Inflation Expectations and the FED

Low inflation expectations

As inflation expectations rise the FED has less and less "wiggle room" to stimulate the economy.  But how do you measure "inflation expectations"? In today's article, Chris Ciovacco will show us. ~Tim McMahon, editor Low Inflation Leaves Fed’s No Taper Door Open Fed Lost Control In 2008 In early December, we used Japan as an extreme example of why central banks are terrified of allowing their respective economies to slip into a deflationary spiral. Do the same concepts apply to the United States? They do. The federal government offers standard Treasury bonds (IEF) and Treasuries that provide some protection against inflation (TIP). The law of supply and demand tells us that when demand … [Read more...]

FED Looks for New Ways to Crank Up Money Supply

FED's new Strategy

With all the talk about "Tapering" you'd think the FED was actually considering reducing it's money pumping. But in actuality that is not it at all. The FED is afraid that it is creating a a bubble in the stock market so it is looking for ways to continue its pumping but shift it enough so that the money goes somewhere besides just to the stock market. In other words, it is still worried about the economy and realizes that it is doing more harm than good but feels trapped, so it is looking for new ways that might work better. If the FED can figure out how to free up the log jam of "excess reserves" held by the banks, liquidity could be sloshing around the economy before you know it and … [Read more...]

Pushing on a String, Velocity of Money and Money Multiplier Conspire Against the FED

Federal Reserve Bank Chicago

Under certain circumstances such as high national indebtedness, fear of bad economic times or when interest rates approach zero, monetary policy becomes ineffective in enticing consumers into spending more money.  Economists refer to this as "Pushing on a String" because if the basic demand doesn't exist to induce people to spend money, it can't be forced through monetary policy. Prime examples of this are during the Great Depression in the United States and in Japan since the 1990s. And as Lacy Hunt explains we are once again facing this problem in the United States since 2008. ~Tim McMahon, editor Federal Reserve Policy Failures Are Mounting By Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D., Economist The Fed's … [Read more...]

Taper Caper: The Consequences of Institutionalizing Q.E.


By Ben Hunt, Ph.D. Previously, we discussed the Bureaucratic Capture of the FED and the institutionalizing of QE. QE is adrenaline delivered via IV drip ... a therapeutic, constant effort to maintain a certain quality of economic life. This may or may not be a positive development for Wall Street, depending on where you sit. I would argue that it’s a negative development for most individual and institutional investors. But it is music to the ears of every institutional political interest in Washington, regardless of party, and that’s what ultimately grants QE bureaucratic immortality. It is impossible to overestimate the political inertia that exists within and around these massive … [Read more...]