Calls to reform, audit, and even eliminate the Federal Reserve have been growing in recent years. We certainly call for an end to the Fed and I encourage anyone interested in monetary policy and the Federal Reserve to read Free Prices Now by ACC co-founder Hunter Lewis. Hunter is a scholar of the highest order and a remarkably successful financier. If you want to understand the sins of the Federal Reserve read his book.
But many people already understand the sins of the Fed and many of these people gathered in a counter summit to the party the Federal Reserve was having this week in Jackson Hole Wyoming. One of the people criticizing the Fed was Benn Steil who, believe it or not, is a director of international economics at The Council on Foreign Relations.
This piece is from Alejandro Chafuen and it is 2 years old. But in light of the current Fed confab in Jackson Hole and the ongoing market twitches, drops, and government induced rallies I think it deserves another view.
Why is the stock market turning down now? Why the current carnage?
Look at it this way. If you are part of the vast, generally assetless or nearly assetless middle class you won’t have to watch the value of what you have decline. I guess that’s a good thing, sort of.
The world is slowing. China is in serious trouble and the ripples emanating from Beijing are becoming waves. The Keynesian experiment post-Crash is failing. (As the Austrian economists said it would.)
World markets are built right now on cotton candy and the rainbow dreams of central bankers. There isn’t a lot of support below world asset prices as John Ficenec at The Telegraph explains.
Cheap money feels good initially. Nearly everyone is happy when central banks open the floodgates (or helicopter doors) and cash spills into the economy. Hooray! Money! Why is it here now instead of yesterday? Who knows? Get while the getting’s good. Look, the stock market’s rising – whoopee! Monetary tequila. Bottoms up!
But the morning, the aching, head thumping morning always comes after such a binge.
“All I know is Ben Bernanke was tending bar. Goldman Sachs was buying me drinks. Everyone was having a great time. (Except those teetotalers the Austrian economists sitting in the back. They’re never any fun.) But everything after that is hazy. Where am I?”
“Son, you’re smack dab in the middle of an economic depression.”
“Oh man, really? Who are you?”
“I’m the Austrian economist who was sitting in the back of the bar. Get your hat. I’ll drive you home Mr. Keynes.”
“No, no. What I need – what we all need is more tequila.”
“Suit yourself.” Said the Austrian economist as he walked out level headed and sober into the blinding summer sun.
Seriously, what is wrong with these people? Our American principal of federalism allows states to go their own way on drugs. The 10th Amendment makes that pretty clear, and the old “affecting” interstate commerce bit is tripe. (Though the New Deal was built around this nonsense.)
The Feds and in this case the FED are afraid of devolution of power away from Washington fundamentally. That’s it.
Let these businesses do business. Coloradans want this type of business. It’s in their state. Leave them alone.
It hasn’t GONE global. Its long been global and on a massive scale. But China is freaking people out.
Play this game if you want. But understand that it is a game which is run by cronies, for cronies, and that cronies are very fallible. Can you handle the kind of downdraft which may come when reality catches up with the hubris of central bankers?
It’s an important question, and one which should be asked when things (in the USA) are still relatively calm.
We have a copy of this book and will be doing a review of it soon. In the meantime, if you’re headed to the beach or lake this summer this might be a good one to take along.*
As I watch the calamity in Greece and the chaos in China I am struck by how much things have changed in 10 years. “Wealth” looks very different to many people these days.
Wealth is time with one’s family. Wealth is time to think. Wealth is a good roof over one’s head. Wealth is good food and good friends. Wealth is walking through a field first thing in the morning with few bills to worry about. Wealth is swimming in the ocean and catching flounder in the surf. Wealth is peace of mind.
Be thankful you aren’t an unskilled worker in Athens or a newly middle class manager in Shenzen who has leveraged his home to play the stock market. Be thankful that you are not feeling the hottest of the world’s economic flames. At the same time be aware that fires do spread.
The a new front opens up for the Federal Reserve.
Also one definitely gets the sense that the recent decline in gold is looking more and more like an opportunity to put away some real wealth at relatively low cost. This is definitely on the mind of the Chinese, and perhaps the guys in 10 gallon hats.
As we’ve said before, the Fed is independent. It is NOT sovereign.
But the Fed thinks that it is above Congress, and the law in many regards. That any effort to shine light into the dark halls of the Eccles Building is too much to ask. That even a little bit of sun would undermine the system.
Consider that for a moment. If that were true, which it’s not, but if it were, I ask whether we should be concerned that Federal Reserve system is so fragile.
If you really want to understand why the crony capitalist system is so insidious as well as ubiquitous I highly recommend listening to this bit from the master Murray Rothbard. If you really want to get what is so messed up about government and the “privavte sector” partnering up, one must know at least a little bit of his work.
Warning though. Rothbard can rattle one’s whole understanding of politics and economics.
We are beginning to see the Great Experiment, the post 2008 Crash experiment, disintegrate. A crack here. A crack there. A hairline fracture. A fissure. The underpinnings of printed money have always been unsound, but now the edifice appears to be unstable. Will a hard Greek gale bring the thing down, or will winds from somewhere else finally do this fiat superstructure in?
Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Notice how there seems to be a collection of negative global data points kind of clustering? I have.
How does the Fed get dollars to European banks when said banks run out of dollars in which to do dollar denominated business? Print some new ones, then have the euro banks swap euros for the new dollars. A little of this. A little of that. And presto, mini euro-bailout. (Or maybe not so mini depending on the circumstances.)