Crashing Unemployment

Dear Mr. Dudley, Your recent remarks in the wake of last week’s FOMC statement were notably unhelpful. In particular, your explanation that further rate hikes are needed to prevent crashing unemployment and rising inflation stunk of rotten eggs. Quite frankly, crashing unemployment is a construct that’s new to popular economic discourse, and a suspect one at that. Years ago, prior to the nirvana of globalization, the potential for wage inflation stemming from full employment was the main concern.

 


US unemployment rate vs. labor force participation rate. The employment situation may not be as all-around copacetic as the U3 unemployment rate seems to indicate… just a hunch.

 

Now that the official unemployment rate’s just 4.3 percent, and wages are still down in the dumps, it appears the Fed has fabricated a new bugaboo to rally around.  What to make of it? For starters, the Fed’s unconventional monetary policy has successfully pushed the financial order completely out of the economy’s orbit.  The once impossible is now commonplace.

For example, the absurdity of negative interest rates was unfathomable until very recently. But that was before years of central bank asset purchases made this a reality. Perhaps the imminent danger of crashing unemployment will give way to the impossibility of negative unemployment.  Crazy things can happen, you know, especially considering the design limitations of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ birth-death model.

Secondly, muddying up the Fed’s message with inane nonsense like crashing unemployment severely diminishes the Fed’s goal of providing transparent communication.  In short, Fed communication has regressed from backassward to assbackward.

During the halcyon days of Alan Greenspan’s Goldilocks economy, for instance, the Fed regularly used jawboning as a tactic to manage inflation expectations.  Through smiling teeth Greenspan would talk out of the side of his neck.  He’d jawbone down inflation expectations while cutting rates.

Certainly, a lot has changed over the years.  So, too, the Fed seems to have reversed its jawboning tactic.  By all accounts, including your Monday remarks, the Fed is now jawboning up inflation expectations while raising rates.

 

William Dudley indicates how far consumer price inflation is from its ideal height…

Photo via imbc.com

 

Congratulations and Thank You!

History will prove this policy tactic to be a complete fiasco.  But at least the Fed is consistent in one respect.  The Fed has a consistent record of getting everything dead wrong. If you recall, on January 10, 2008, a full month after the onset of the Great Recession, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke stated that “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

Granted, a recession is generally identified by two successive quarters of declining GDP; so, you don’t technically know you’re in a recession until after it is underway.  But, come on, what good is a forecast if it can’t discern a recession when you’re in the midst of one?

Bernanke’s quote ranks up there in sheer idiocy with Irving Fisher’s public declaration in October 1929, on the eve of the 1929 stock market crash and onset of the Great Depression, that “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”  By the month’s end the stock market had crashed and crashed again, never to return to its prior highs in Fisher’s lifetime.

 

Irving Fisher and Ben Bernanke – not exactly known as the best economic forecasters ever. Nevertheless, both provided plenty of central economic planning advice. Interestingly, their forecasting errors have done little damage to their reputations – notwithstanding the Econometric Society’s former motto “Science is Prediction” (that does actually not apply to economic science, but it is still widely held that fortune-telling is a task of economists; after all, if they cannot predict, how are they supposed to plan? It’s a dilemma…).

 

To be fair, Fisher wasn’t a Fed man.  However, he was a dyed-in-the-wool central planner cut from the same cloth.  Moreover, it is bloopers like these from the supposed experts like Bernanke and Fisher that make life so amiably pleasurable. Do you agree?

Hence, Mr. Dudley, words of congratulations are in order!  Because on Monday you added this future knee-slapper to the annals of economic banter:

 

“I’m actually very confident that even though the expansion is relatively long in the tooth, we still have quite a long way to go.  This is actually a pretty good place to be.”

– William Dudley, June 19, 2017

 

Thank you, sir, for your shrewd insights.  They’ll offer up countless laughs through the many dreary years ahead.

 

Finding their way over at the Eccles building…

 

Too Little, Too Late

When it comes down to it, your excuses for raising rates are not about some unfounded fear of a crashing unemployment rate.  Nor are they about controlling price inflation.  These are mere cover for past mistakes.

The esteemed James Rickards, in an article titled The Fed’s Road Ahead, recently boiled present Fed policy down to its very core:

 

“Now we’re at a very delicate point, because the Fed missed the opportunity to raise rates five years ago.  They’re trying to play catch-up, and yesterday’s [June 14] was the third rate hike in six months. Economic research shows that in a recession, they [the Fed] have to cut interest rates 300 basis points or more, or 3 percent, to lift the economy out of recession.  I’m not saying we are in a recession now, although we’re probably close.

But if a recession arrives a few months or even a year from now, how is the Fed going to cut rates 3 percent if they’re only at 1.25 percent? The answer is, they can’t. So the Fed’s desperately trying to raise interest rates up to 300 basis points, or 3 percent, before the next recession, so they have room to start cutting again.  In other words, they are raising rates so they can cut them.”

 

Unfortunately, Mr. Dudley, the Fed miscalculated.  Efforts to raise rates now will prove too little, too late.  To be clear, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell the Fed will get the federal funds rate up to 3 percent before the next recession.  You likely won’t even get it up to 2 percent.

 

Unexpected side effects of rate hikes to come…

 

Nonetheless, you should stay the course.  If you’re gonna raise rates, then raise rates.  Don’t cut them.  Raise them.  Then raise them some more. Crash stocks.  Crash bonds.  Crash real estate.  Crush asset prices.  Purge the debt and speculative excesses from financial markets.

Let marginal businesses go broke.  Let too big to fail banks fail.  You can even consult with Dick “The Gorilla” Fuld, if needed.  Let nature do its work. Best bring the paper money experiment to a close and shutter the doors of the Federal Reserve.  No doubt, the economy and millions of people will suffer a painful long-lasting restructuring.  But what choice is there, really?

Let’s face it.  The Fed cannot hold the financial order together much longer anyway.  Why pretend you can with utter nonsense like crashing unemployment?  It’s insulting. Your credibility is shot.  Better to get on with it now, before it’s forced upon you.

P.S.  What’s up with Neel Kashkari?  The man has gone rogue.

 

Chart by: St. Louis Fed

 

Chart and image captions by PT

 

MN Gordon is President and Founder of Direct Expressions LLC, an independent publishing company. He is the Editorial Director and Publisher of the Economic Prism – an E-Newsletter that tries to bring clarity to the muddy waters of economic policy and discusses interesting investment opportunities.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • What Kind of Stock Market Purge Is This?
      Actions and Reactions Down markets, like up markets, are both dazzling and delightful. The shock and awe of near back-to-back 1,000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) free-falls is indeed spectacular. There are many reasons to revel in it.  Today we shall share a few. To begin, losing money in a multi-day stock market dump is no fun at all.  We'd rather get our teeth drilled by a dentist.  Still, a rapid selloff has many positive qualities.   Memorable moments from...
  • How to Buy Low When Everyone Else is Buying High
      When to Sell? The common thread running through the collective minds of present U.S. stock market investors goes something like this: A great crash is coming.  But first there will be an epic run-up climaxing with a massive parabolic blow off top.  Hence, to capitalize on the final blow off, investors must let their stock market holdings ride until the precise moment the market peaks – and not a moment more.  That’s when investors should sell their stocks and go to...
  • US Stocks - Minor Dip With Potential, Much Consternation
      It's Just a Flesh Wound – But a Sad Day for Vol Sellers On January 31 we wrote about the unprecedented levels - for a stock market index that is - the weekly and monthly RSI of the DJIA had reached (see: “Too Much Bubble Love, Likely to Bring Regret” for the astonishing details – provided you still have some capacity for stock market-related astonishment). We will take the opportunity to toot our horn by reminding readers that we highlighted VIX calls of all things as a worthwhile...
  • When Budget Deficits Will Really Go Vertical
      Mnuchin Gets It United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has a sweet gig.  He writes rubber checks to pay the nation’s bills.  Yet, somehow, the rubber checks don’t bounce.  Instead, like magic, they clear. How this all works, considering the nation’s technically insolvent, we don’t quite understand.  But Mnuchin gets it.  He knows exactly how full faith and credit works – and he knows plenty more.   Master of the Mint and economy wizard Steven Mnuchin and...
  • Why I Own Gold and Gold Mining Companies – An Interview With Jayant Bandari
      Opportunities in the Junior Mining Sector Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable has recently interviewed Jayant Bandari, the publisher of Capitalism and Morality and a frequent contributor to this site. The topics discussed include currencies, bitcoin, gold and above all junior gold stocks (i.e., small producers and explorers). Jayant shares some of his best ideas in the segment, including arbitrage opportunities currently offered by pending takeovers – which is an area that generally...
  • Seasonality of Individual Stocks – an Update
      Well Known Seasonal Trends Readers are very likely aware of the “Halloween effect” or the Santa Claus rally. The former term refers to the fact that stocks on average tend to perform significantly worse in the summer months than in the winter months, the latter term describes the typically very strong advance in stocks just before the turn of the year. Both phenomena apply to the broad stock market, this is to say, to benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500 or the...
  • The Future of Copper – Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q1 2018
      Copper vs. Oil The Q1 2018 meeting of the Incrementum Fund's Advisory Board took place on January 24, about one week before the recent market turmoil began. In a way it is funny that this group of contrarians who are well known for their skeptical stance on the risk asset bubble, didn't really discuss the stock market much on this occasion. Of course there was little to add to what was already talked about extensively at previous meetings. Moreover, the main focus was on the topic...
  • “Strong Dollar”, “Weak Dollar” - What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?
      Contradictory Palaver The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronouncements and reversals which will take place in the coming months and years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.   A modern-day...
  • Strange Economic Data
      Economic Activity Seems Brisk, But... Contrary to the situation in 2014-2015, economic indicators are currently far from signaling an imminent recession. We frequently discussed growing weakness in the manufacturing sector in 2015 (which is the largest sector of the economy in terms of gross output) - but even then, we always stressed that no clear recession signal was in sight yet.   US gross output (GO) growth year-on-year, and industrial production (IP) – note that GO...
  • US Equities – Retracement Levels and Market Psychology
      Fibonacci Retracements   Following the recent market swoon, we were interested to see how far the rebound would go. Fibonacci retracement levels are a tried and true technical tool for estimating likely targets – and they can actually provide information beyond that as well. Here is the S&P 500 Index with the most important Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline shown:   So far, the SPX has made it back to the 61.8% retracement level intraday, and has weakened...
  • Update on the Modified Davis Method
      Whipsawed Frank Roellinger has updated us with respect to the signals given by his Modified Ned Davis Method (MDM) in the course of the recent market correction. The MDM is a purely technical trading system designed for position-trading the Russell 2000 index, both long and short (for details and additional color see The Modified Davis Method and Reader Question on the Modified Ned Davis Method).   The Nasdaq pillar...   As it turns out, the system was whipsawed,...
  • Market Efficiency? The Euro is Looking Forward to the Weekend!
      Peculiar Behavior As I have shown in previous issues of Seasonal Insights, various financial instruments are demonstrating peculiar behavior in the course of the week: the S&P 500 Index is typically strong on Tuesdays, Gold on Fridays and Bitcoin on Tuesdays (similar to the S&P 500 Index).   The quest for profitable foresight...[PT]   Several readers have inquired whether currencies exhibit such patterns as well. Are these extremely large markets also home to...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com

Diary of a Rogue Economist