Big Europe Makes The Move…Hopelessly

809 views

This weekend, the Eggs Benedict Presidency himself, Mr. Francois Hollande, is calling for a new government to unite all of Europe. This is the last ditch effort of redlining welfare states to avoid change. If they can create a unified government, the Greeks, Spanish, Italians and French can have a fair shot of papering over their floundering social nets without being forced to undertake any meaningful reforms.

And they have no chance of pulling it off. The mood has decidedly swung against “Europe”. Plus Germany isn’t that stupid.

But it’s quite amazing that we’ve gotten to this point at all and it’s worth spending a few minutes talking about the progression itself. Because just fifty years ago, it would have been unthinkable for an elected leader of a European country to call for full integration of the continent.

It’s worth starting the narrative after the end of World War 2; mostly because so many people were dead at that point that it was essentially a complete reset of the culture anyway. History before World War 2 exists as a sort of odd, discolored picture in time…one who’s inhabitants are almost forgotten.

And as Europe began to pick up the pieces, ghastly images began to emerge of a culture that did unspeakable acts. The death and carnage was so pervasive that it had the almost singular effect of destroying one of the more popular scientism movements – eugenics – practically overnight. As word of the concentration camps that the Axis had erected spread, very uncomfortable associations between our own work with forced sterilizations and gene and culture control here at home began to creep up, and almost instantaneously no one had ever believed in eugenics (despite it being almost blasphemy to argue against it just years early). Michael Crichton had a very excellent speech on this subject and if you haven’t read it, I recommend it in its full form.

And a major knock off effect of this self reflection was a Europe which had become more afraid of its own citizens than ever. I recently read another article (I couldn’t track it down, leave a link if you know the one) that I feel convincingly argued that much of the current EU form was erected to overrule democracy in favor of technocratic decision making by an “enlightened” class. If you want an example of how this plays out, consider that in the UK upwards of half of all new laws originate from Brussels. Lawmaking of this variety clearly denies basic rights of representation; and indeed that is the whole point.

Per this argument, the EU’s terror of its own citizens – which is at the heart of the EU rule making process – is a cultural development in response to the acts of populist movements across Europe in the prior generation.

But this is something of a contradiction. It wasn’t exactly democratic actions that committed those atrocities. Certainly a very vocal and nationalist undercurrent of supporters set those things in motion. But talking to the survivors of those years, one fairly consistent theme is that the common citizens that formed the backbone of the democracies had almost no idea of what was going on.

Rather, it was the very same form of technocrats, withholding information and utilizing propaganda, that had carried out the worst human rights violations. A lack of information stifled the ability of democracy to react, until much later, after the veil of ignorance was lifted by warfare, and the sights and accounts were allowed to flow through the populace.

And so it is also worth considering that it would be exceedingly difficult for any atrocity on the scale of the early 20th century to happen again in our history, so long as the information sharing which is reshaping our society is allowed to spread unhindered. With so much access to free information, even unwilling participants accessory to such crimes would be able to anonymously spread the word.

Which leaves the EU in its current form of stifling, undemocratic processes. And one has to wonder, “what’s the point of this?”

The EU is predominantly about the euro, which is the second layer of trouble. The modern welfare state also evolved in response to the end of the World Wars; a period of time when starvation and economic poverty was running rampant across war torn nations and when modern political movements were asking how they could avoid letting events like that ever replay themselves. The proposed solution was to directly aid citizens, which would have the secondary effect of giving everyone an incentive not to participate in forms of political upheaval or risk losing those benefits.

But the heart of the welfare state is a type of nationalism; open borders and free moving populations make for trouble when trying to run national benefits.

Which makes it so odd that welfare states in the 90’s decided to adopt a common currency that they have no direct control over. The welfare state de facto playbook is to address any inevitable economic stagnation, recession or depression with new economic equilibrium, rather than economic reform. The entire point of practical political welfare is to entrench interests of a political majority and avoid challenges. The other guys get to deal with economic variability. See public sector labor unions for an idea of how that works.

By switching to the euro, perhaps unknowingly, the welfare state model sold out its most powerful tool to achieve that outcome. Modern problems are very much a product of adopting the euro. Pro-welfare commentators in the media take it a step further by pinning the fault of those problems on the euro as well. That belies a bias towards a welfare model of government. You could easily argue that the welfare model is itself the problem and that the euro was just a monumentally stupid strategic move on the part of the major players. In either case, the common currency without political union is causing fissures to form across Europe, for the better part of 5 years now. We’ve sort of beat this theme to death by now, so I’ll cut more commentary short here.

And so now, in 2015, we have the president of France actually considering a political union with old cultural enemies Germany and the UK, and Greece immediately trying to undo the effects of a referendum they themselves wanted to have. It’s almost preposterous, if not for the desire to preserve the welfare programs. That’s the only driving force holding this thing together at this point.

So on a warm weekend in July, Francois Hollande is making a last ditch and desperate appeal that amounts to selling out everything French about France, just to avoid the discomfort of some relatively modest cuts and the bravery required to trust his own citizens.

You have to wonder if even Friedman would have seen that coming.

In short order, as the euro collapses towards dollar parity, this call will be picked up by the globalists here in the US as well. It will be their one chance, for perhaps hundreds of years, to stitch the US into the European framework. God willing we crush them without much trouble when that happens.

Refreshing Day

1,381 views

European bonds are now back under control and the EURUSD refuses to cede $1.10. This may sound circumstantial but I read it as a line in the sand which is not being crossed.

The Greek referendum was a major joke. No one will ever take Syriza seriously again. You cannot force a referendum like that, then just turn right around and bend over. Greece will be the butt of jokes for 100 years. I mean, we still make fun of the French for losing wars, don’t we? ‘Greek negotiating’ is now a dark punch line.

Oil dropped $10 in a hurry, but it is still only testing the old lows. I’m getting some constructive information from the oil field services sector. BAS reports that some numbers have rebounded (albeit new drilling activity is practically nonexistent).

So I guess what happens next is all about China.

The Chinese market collapse would have been the start of something serious in the US; but China is not the US. China remains at a junction, where they need to decide what they want to be when they grow up. If they decide that the Red Revolution is still their destiny, then they’ll keep pulling moves like they did last week. But that is not the recipe for a successful world power and each of us knows it.

China’s path forward is to embrace the capitalism spirit. That means letting crashes do what they will and not threatening to behead people for having private property rights.

For now though, we may have been spared something worse. Chinese stocks are not widely connected to their overall economy yet (America would be in another recession if that had happened here and so would maybe a tenth of the planet).

So for China, they are still executing the transfer towards a more free and secular society (at least on their word anyway) and this damage may yet be passed over. And Chinese stocks globally are taboo and I would be ashamed if it were discovered that I owned any, so my guess is foreign exposure is going to be reasonable. Not non-existent, but reasonable.

This leads me to guess that the China crash will be a one off.

The real damage is the permanent shredding of credibility that China’s leadership is undergoing by trying to dictate a market outcome. That’s stupid and doesn’t work and really highlights the problem the Chinese are going to have maturing past the technocrat paternalism that has barely been keeping it together up to now (see Chinese stocks as taboo, my refusal to own any).

Globally, if we’re going to keep hitting new highs, we need China to hold water. That means the China boys pulling their pants up, leaving that Marx childishness behind them, and pushing forward towards Western finance. Stumbling now would not be a good sign for global trade, which could be a real issue if the markets reopen and the Chinese people themselves decide their Emperor is ass naked.

This Is Nothing

1,378 views

I was on a tropical island beach in the Gulf of Mexico during the first Greek crisis back in 2010. It was one of those tranquil weeks where you check in once during the morning and once at night, just to stay abreast of the world.

That morning I had skipped the internet check in altogether and just proceeded directly to the ocean to have morning breakfast with mimosa. After breakfast (if you count the next three hours of mimosa as part of breakfast) I proceeded inside.

I will never forget this short journey back to the residence where I was staying, as it was marked with a black omen. The backyard, you see, was guarded jealously by a spring loaded door hinge, which took its duties quite seriously. I had been careful to avoid its wrathful impertinence before now, but on this occasion could not evade the blow it dealt me. Bleeding copiously from the back of my heel, I left a trail of thick, ruby red blood towards the house.

After I was bandaged up, I realized that was the least amount of blood I would shed that day.

The losses from the original Greek crisis and the panic that followed were intense. The volatility cannot be understated, with the VIX ramping from the mid teens to over 40 in a matter of a few short weeks. The world “contagion” was being used by taxi drivers in day to day conversation.

This is nothing.

We have had 5 long years to prepare for this. If any institutions are holding Greek debt as leverage against other positions, they are the world’s biggest idiots. They would deserve to lose everything. In fact, given the zeal with which central banks have been policing finance lately, I’m not sure such a hypothetical institution could even exist in the first place.

Greek debt has been aggressively purchased and stored away in the vaults of the public, where it can be ignored for the next three decades.

I originally thought we were pretty screwed when the first European Debt Crisis hit the waves. Average maturities of European countries were something incomprehensibly stupid, like 2 years. There was no organization of the central banks. No mandate by the ECB to intervene. No control of the euro. I bet against them and then I lost.

If we were going to collapse from European incompetence, that was the time to do it.

My guess is, although Greece seems finally ready to go, this is more a blow to the reputations of the morons that started the EU project than it is to the financial system, at this point in time.

I Am Betting On The Status Quo

1,734 views

This has been a very difficult past 12 months for me. It’s not just the losses from the oil markets cratering like that. The other issue is that I am looking around, now 6 years since the end of the last recession, and I just cannot quite figure out what comes next.

I usually have a pretty good handle on which way the wind is blowing. Some sort of overarching theme about what the next 5 years have in store for them. That thesis was the emergence of an American oil powerhouse that shattered old regimes. And that has sort of played out, albeit not like I expected.

But what else is going on? European countries seem keen on not burning down EU administrative buildings, which is what it would take to really break up that bureaucracy, seeing how no party in Europe appears to have the balls to hold referendums. But you can’t necessarily bet on Europe either. In my 401K, I’ve been nibbling on European indices and mutual funds since at least 2011, but there’s nothing in particular I would invest in. Nothing worthy of iBankCoin.

And what else is happening? Technology continues to undergo a multi-decade of fast paced evolution. The thing about evolution; it’s a violent, messy process. Not conducive to buy and hold at all. The consumers get rich with wonderful goods while the investors get ground to bits by emerging players and turnover. There’s only a few walls in that village, and they have a high premium attached.

My biggest reservation is that I once mapped out frequencies of recession in America, and we are fast coming due for one.

So what are your thoughts? What will the second half of this decade bring?

Growth Is Sucking Wind

1,357 views

Happy Monday and welcome back to. The crisp morning air of a spring not quite ripe welcomed those of us in Michigan; our early treatment to hot weather broke abruptly on Friday night to yield cool weather over the weekend. That has held into the start of this week so far.

Growth reports have yielded steady disappointment. Each time we get hit with a lackluster outcome, since late last year, we shrug it off like high times are just on the horizon. What if they aren’t?

There is an old economic theory that maximum production is ultimately bounded above at any given point in time. A society overproducing for the benefit of one generation necessarily creates low demand for the next, ushering in economic hardships, under this treaty of thought. If we think of the 90’s and early 00’s as such a point in time of overproduction (<5% unemployment in the 90's?), then that could maybe explain the ever present weakness in the face of effervescent punditry which we have been subjected to.

This line of thought led to the infamous "smashing windows" comments that are so well known in Keynesianism. Maybe we just need to blow up some more Middle East pipelines…?

I cannot condone shorting assets though. It's just too stupid of a strategy. If this economic idea is behind our weakness, then it follows that the Central Banks are directly at fault (and also directly to be commended for preventing the collapse of civilization 5 years ago, all sort of murkily at the same time). But weak growth will also provide justification for more intervention on the part of the same, the gross irony there barely coming under scrutiny.

So yes the people who sort of set us up for this in the '90's and '00's will almost assuredly break things more, while blaring the catch phrase "WE'RE HELPING!". Which sort of sets us up for more QE and longer periods of lower interest rates and maybe other even more stupid policies we haven't even thought up yet.

Paying Lip Service To Rate Hikes

1,679 views

The Fed are “unlikely to hike rates in June”, according to the people who’s sole decision it is to hike rates in June.

Is it supposed to make me comfortable that people with absolute discretion to make a decision talk about themselves from a probabilistic, 3rd party frame of reference? If I walked around these halls muttering “Cain is unlikely to stab someone today”, I imagine I would get admitted.

We’re at the point where we talk about rate hikes because that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s professional of us, to pretend like we earnestly believe that rates are at any point in the foreseeable future set to rise. It’s professional courtesy, you see.

What’s not professional (and maybe just rude) is to state the obvious; rates aren’t going higher and the Federal Reserve isn’t in control of the ball anymore. It’s not just that they won’t raise rates. They cannot raise them.

Not being able to do something so simple as raise interest rates from the lowest they have ever been is disconcerting. It’s not comfortable to admit.

So a few times a year we get together and in very serious voices hold loud talks concerning whether the big rate hike is imminent. But that day isn’t coming anytime soon and deep down, each of us knows that.

And if, it should perchance, that a major correction should hit us in this state of affairs, all confidence in the Federal Reserve would be completely broken, they would become the butt of jokes, and major change would rip through the system.

Big Europe Makes The Move…Hopelessly

809 views

This weekend, the Eggs Benedict Presidency himself, Mr. Francois Hollande, is calling for a new government to unite all of Europe. This is the last ditch effort of redlining welfare states to avoid change. If they can create a unified government, the Greeks, Spanish, Italians and French can have a fair shot of papering over their floundering social nets without being forced to undertake any meaningful reforms.

And they have no chance of pulling it off. The mood has decidedly swung against “Europe”. Plus Germany isn’t that stupid.

But it’s quite amazing that we’ve gotten to this point at all and it’s worth spending a few minutes talking about the progression itself. Because just fifty years ago, it would have been unthinkable for an elected leader of a European country to call for full integration of the continent.

It’s worth starting the narrative after the end of World War 2; mostly because so many people were dead at that point that it was essentially a complete reset of the culture anyway. History before World War 2 exists as a sort of odd, discolored picture in time…one who’s inhabitants are almost forgotten.

And as Europe began to pick up the pieces, ghastly images began to emerge of a culture that did unspeakable acts. The death and carnage was so pervasive that it had the almost singular effect of destroying one of the more popular scientism movements – eugenics – practically overnight. As word of the concentration camps that the Axis had erected spread, very uncomfortable associations between our own work with forced sterilizations and gene and culture control here at home began to creep up, and almost instantaneously no one had ever believed in eugenics (despite it being almost blasphemy to argue against it just years early). Michael Crichton had a very excellent speech on this subject and if you haven’t read it, I recommend it in its full form.

And a major knock off effect of this self reflection was a Europe which had become more afraid of its own citizens than ever. I recently read another article (I couldn’t track it down, leave a link if you know the one) that I feel convincingly argued that much of the current EU form was erected to overrule democracy in favor of technocratic decision making by an “enlightened” class. If you want an example of how this plays out, consider that in the UK upwards of half of all new laws originate from Brussels. Lawmaking of this variety clearly denies basic rights of representation; and indeed that is the whole point.

Per this argument, the EU’s terror of its own citizens – which is at the heart of the EU rule making process – is a cultural development in response to the acts of populist movements across Europe in the prior generation.

But this is something of a contradiction. It wasn’t exactly democratic actions that committed those atrocities. Certainly a very vocal and nationalist undercurrent of supporters set those things in motion. But talking to the survivors of those years, one fairly consistent theme is that the common citizens that formed the backbone of the democracies had almost no idea of what was going on.

Rather, it was the very same form of technocrats, withholding information and utilizing propaganda, that had carried out the worst human rights violations. A lack of information stifled the ability of democracy to react, until much later, after the veil of ignorance was lifted by warfare, and the sights and accounts were allowed to flow through the populace.

And so it is also worth considering that it would be exceedingly difficult for any atrocity on the scale of the early 20th century to happen again in our history, so long as the information sharing which is reshaping our society is allowed to spread unhindered. With so much access to free information, even unwilling participants accessory to such crimes would be able to anonymously spread the word.

Which leaves the EU in its current form of stifling, undemocratic processes. And one has to wonder, “what’s the point of this?”

The EU is predominantly about the euro, which is the second layer of trouble. The modern welfare state also evolved in response to the end of the World Wars; a period of time when starvation and economic poverty was running rampant across war torn nations and when modern political movements were asking how they could avoid letting events like that ever replay themselves. The proposed solution was to directly aid citizens, which would have the secondary effect of giving everyone an incentive not to participate in forms of political upheaval or risk losing those benefits.

But the heart of the welfare state is a type of nationalism; open borders and free moving populations make for trouble when trying to run national benefits.

Which makes it so odd that welfare states in the 90’s decided to adopt a common currency that they have no direct control over. The welfare state de facto playbook is to address any inevitable economic stagnation, recession or depression with new economic equilibrium, rather than economic reform. The entire point of practical political welfare is to entrench interests of a political majority and avoid challenges. The other guys get to deal with economic variability. See public sector labor unions for an idea of how that works.

By switching to the euro, perhaps unknowingly, the welfare state model sold out its most powerful tool to achieve that outcome. Modern problems are very much a product of adopting the euro. Pro-welfare commentators in the media take it a step further by pinning the fault of those problems on the euro as well. That belies a bias towards a welfare model of government. You could easily argue that the welfare model is itself the problem and that the euro was just a monumentally stupid strategic move on the part of the major players. In either case, the common currency without political union is causing fissures to form across Europe, for the better part of 5 years now. We’ve sort of beat this theme to death by now, so I’ll cut more commentary short here.

And so now, in 2015, we have the president of France actually considering a political union with old cultural enemies Germany and the UK, and Greece immediately trying to undo the effects of a referendum they themselves wanted to have. It’s almost preposterous, if not for the desire to preserve the welfare programs. That’s the only driving force holding this thing together at this point.

So on a warm weekend in July, Francois Hollande is making a last ditch and desperate appeal that amounts to selling out everything French about France, just to avoid the discomfort of some relatively modest cuts and the bravery required to trust his own citizens.

You have to wonder if even Friedman would have seen that coming.

In short order, as the euro collapses towards dollar parity, this call will be picked up by the globalists here in the US as well. It will be their one chance, for perhaps hundreds of years, to stitch the US into the European framework. God willing we crush them without much trouble when that happens.

Refreshing Day

1,381 views

European bonds are now back under control and the EURUSD refuses to cede $1.10. This may sound circumstantial but I read it as a line in the sand which is not being crossed.

The Greek referendum was a major joke. No one will ever take Syriza seriously again. You cannot force a referendum like that, then just turn right around and bend over. Greece will be the butt of jokes for 100 years. I mean, we still make fun of the French for losing wars, don’t we? ‘Greek negotiating’ is now a dark punch line.

Oil dropped $10 in a hurry, but it is still only testing the old lows. I’m getting some constructive information from the oil field services sector. BAS reports that some numbers have rebounded (albeit new drilling activity is practically nonexistent).

So I guess what happens next is all about China.

The Chinese market collapse would have been the start of something serious in the US; but China is not the US. China remains at a junction, where they need to decide what they want to be when they grow up. If they decide that the Red Revolution is still their destiny, then they’ll keep pulling moves like they did last week. But that is not the recipe for a successful world power and each of us knows it.

China’s path forward is to embrace the capitalism spirit. That means letting crashes do what they will and not threatening to behead people for having private property rights.

For now though, we may have been spared something worse. Chinese stocks are not widely connected to their overall economy yet (America would be in another recession if that had happened here and so would maybe a tenth of the planet).

So for China, they are still executing the transfer towards a more free and secular society (at least on their word anyway) and this damage may yet be passed over. And Chinese stocks globally are taboo and I would be ashamed if it were discovered that I owned any, so my guess is foreign exposure is going to be reasonable. Not non-existent, but reasonable.

This leads me to guess that the China crash will be a one off.

The real damage is the permanent shredding of credibility that China’s leadership is undergoing by trying to dictate a market outcome. That’s stupid and doesn’t work and really highlights the problem the Chinese are going to have maturing past the technocrat paternalism that has barely been keeping it together up to now (see Chinese stocks as taboo, my refusal to own any).

Globally, if we’re going to keep hitting new highs, we need China to hold water. That means the China boys pulling their pants up, leaving that Marx childishness behind them, and pushing forward towards Western finance. Stumbling now would not be a good sign for global trade, which could be a real issue if the markets reopen and the Chinese people themselves decide their Emperor is ass naked.

This Is Nothing

1,378 views

I was on a tropical island beach in the Gulf of Mexico during the first Greek crisis back in 2010. It was one of those tranquil weeks where you check in once during the morning and once at night, just to stay abreast of the world.

That morning I had skipped the internet check in altogether and just proceeded directly to the ocean to have morning breakfast with mimosa. After breakfast (if you count the next three hours of mimosa as part of breakfast) I proceeded inside.

I will never forget this short journey back to the residence where I was staying, as it was marked with a black omen. The backyard, you see, was guarded jealously by a spring loaded door hinge, which took its duties quite seriously. I had been careful to avoid its wrathful impertinence before now, but on this occasion could not evade the blow it dealt me. Bleeding copiously from the back of my heel, I left a trail of thick, ruby red blood towards the house.

After I was bandaged up, I realized that was the least amount of blood I would shed that day.

The losses from the original Greek crisis and the panic that followed were intense. The volatility cannot be understated, with the VIX ramping from the mid teens to over 40 in a matter of a few short weeks. The world “contagion” was being used by taxi drivers in day to day conversation.

This is nothing.

We have had 5 long years to prepare for this. If any institutions are holding Greek debt as leverage against other positions, they are the world’s biggest idiots. They would deserve to lose everything. In fact, given the zeal with which central banks have been policing finance lately, I’m not sure such a hypothetical institution could even exist in the first place.

Greek debt has been aggressively purchased and stored away in the vaults of the public, where it can be ignored for the next three decades.

I originally thought we were pretty screwed when the first European Debt Crisis hit the waves. Average maturities of European countries were something incomprehensibly stupid, like 2 years. There was no organization of the central banks. No mandate by the ECB to intervene. No control of the euro. I bet against them and then I lost.

If we were going to collapse from European incompetence, that was the time to do it.

My guess is, although Greece seems finally ready to go, this is more a blow to the reputations of the morons that started the EU project than it is to the financial system, at this point in time.

I Am Betting On The Status Quo

1,734 views

This has been a very difficult past 12 months for me. It’s not just the losses from the oil markets cratering like that. The other issue is that I am looking around, now 6 years since the end of the last recession, and I just cannot quite figure out what comes next.

I usually have a pretty good handle on which way the wind is blowing. Some sort of overarching theme about what the next 5 years have in store for them. That thesis was the emergence of an American oil powerhouse that shattered old regimes. And that has sort of played out, albeit not like I expected.

But what else is going on? European countries seem keen on not burning down EU administrative buildings, which is what it would take to really break up that bureaucracy, seeing how no party in Europe appears to have the balls to hold referendums. But you can’t necessarily bet on Europe either. In my 401K, I’ve been nibbling on European indices and mutual funds since at least 2011, but there’s nothing in particular I would invest in. Nothing worthy of iBankCoin.

And what else is happening? Technology continues to undergo a multi-decade of fast paced evolution. The thing about evolution; it’s a violent, messy process. Not conducive to buy and hold at all. The consumers get rich with wonderful goods while the investors get ground to bits by emerging players and turnover. There’s only a few walls in that village, and they have a high premium attached.

My biggest reservation is that I once mapped out frequencies of recession in America, and we are fast coming due for one.

So what are your thoughts? What will the second half of this decade bring?

Growth Is Sucking Wind

1,357 views

Happy Monday and welcome back to. The crisp morning air of a spring not quite ripe welcomed those of us in Michigan; our early treatment to hot weather broke abruptly on Friday night to yield cool weather over the weekend. That has held into the start of this week so far.

Growth reports have yielded steady disappointment. Each time we get hit with a lackluster outcome, since late last year, we shrug it off like high times are just on the horizon. What if they aren’t?

There is an old economic theory that maximum production is ultimately bounded above at any given point in time. A society overproducing for the benefit of one generation necessarily creates low demand for the next, ushering in economic hardships, under this treaty of thought. If we think of the 90’s and early 00’s as such a point in time of overproduction (<5% unemployment in the 90's?), then that could maybe explain the ever present weakness in the face of effervescent punditry which we have been subjected to.

This line of thought led to the infamous "smashing windows" comments that are so well known in Keynesianism. Maybe we just need to blow up some more Middle East pipelines…?

I cannot condone shorting assets though. It's just too stupid of a strategy. If this economic idea is behind our weakness, then it follows that the Central Banks are directly at fault (and also directly to be commended for preventing the collapse of civilization 5 years ago, all sort of murkily at the same time). But weak growth will also provide justification for more intervention on the part of the same, the gross irony there barely coming under scrutiny.

So yes the people who sort of set us up for this in the '90's and '00's will almost assuredly break things more, while blaring the catch phrase "WE'RE HELPING!". Which sort of sets us up for more QE and longer periods of lower interest rates and maybe other even more stupid policies we haven't even thought up yet.

Paying Lip Service To Rate Hikes

1,679 views

The Fed are “unlikely to hike rates in June”, according to the people who’s sole decision it is to hike rates in June.

Is it supposed to make me comfortable that people with absolute discretion to make a decision talk about themselves from a probabilistic, 3rd party frame of reference? If I walked around these halls muttering “Cain is unlikely to stab someone today”, I imagine I would get admitted.

We’re at the point where we talk about rate hikes because that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s professional of us, to pretend like we earnestly believe that rates are at any point in the foreseeable future set to rise. It’s professional courtesy, you see.

What’s not professional (and maybe just rude) is to state the obvious; rates aren’t going higher and the Federal Reserve isn’t in control of the ball anymore. It’s not just that they won’t raise rates. They cannot raise them.

Not being able to do something so simple as raise interest rates from the lowest they have ever been is disconcerting. It’s not comfortable to admit.

So a few times a year we get together and in very serious voices hold loud talks concerning whether the big rate hike is imminent. But that day isn’t coming anytime soon and deep down, each of us knows that.

And if, it should perchance, that a major correction should hit us in this state of affairs, all confidence in the Federal Reserve would be completely broken, they would become the butt of jokes, and major change would rip through the system.

Previous Posts by Mr. Cain Thaler