We have been talking about how there had been no bubble in US stocks and how the economy is doing just fine. We have also been talking about how the bubble is in policy and that the economy and stock bull market have been created – yes, like Frankenstein’s monster once again – out of this policy bubble.
Will wonders never cease? As you may know, I read the financial MSM to get a feel for what the casual market participant is reading, what the majority is being told is the truth. Usually it is some combo of self-promoters and agenda (sometimes political) driven bulls and bears.
“The real issue is that the Fed has expanded its tool kit so dramatically…” –Andrew Huszar
In line with our theme of outlandish and immoral (in my opinion) Fed policy a former Fed official calls QE a backdoor bailout of Wall Street, which anyone with two functioning brain cells knows to be the case. The Andrew Huszar Op/Ed (Wall Street Journal) Confessions of a Quantitative Easer is I suppose old news, but it illustrates what we have been hammering on for so long now; that Fed policy is serving to pump the stock market and pump up the wallets of asset owners.
QE gets about 10 times the notoriety of ZIRP, but I’ll still maintain that it is this evil tool in the Fed’s ‘tool kit’ that is the main and continuing blight on the system as it not only rewards asset owners and speculators, but punishes those least able to speculate due to limited funds.
Please review this chart again and behold the rigged market. Anyone arguing that the bull market in US stocks is normal is being intellectually dishonest. Yet like agent Mulder I want to believe in the healthy bull story*, but I have to believe the data that has drawn the lines on the chart above.
Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was instigated by a credit induced collapse of the US financial system and perpetuated in December of 2008 by desperate financial policy makers as a fix to problems they created in the first place.
In reality, it is simply an epic distortion of normal economic signals that cleaned up the mess created by previous policy distortions (like the commercial credit bubble of the Greenspan era) by systematically (5+ years and running) main lining new distortions into the system.
So in addition to this picture, which could one day hang in a monetary museum with the title ‘Grandma and Her Savings Account Bail Out Wealthy Asset Owners’, let’s take a walk down memory lane and marvel at some other pictures created by this policy…
There is a lot of talk now about a flattening of the yield curve. This talk has been among the most intense right here at the website you are reading at this moment. A flattening curve is commonly viewed as bad for gold, and according to Mark Hulbert, is an indicator of a coming recession.
But is the curve really flattening or is this all hype based on Janet Yellen’s press conference comments? Here is a chart the likes of which we have been using in NFTRH for many months now, the 30 year vs. the 5 year yield.
Everyone expects Janet Yellen to be a rolling over, inflationist stooge just like they did Ben Bernanke. Bernanke came on board after Alan Greenspan had taken the Fed Funds rate up to around 5% if I remember correctly. Inflationists and gold bugs thought they had it in the bag when ‘Helicopter Ben’ assumed control.
Indeed, Bernanke did what he was supposed to do (per the ‘Helicopter ‘Ben’ script) as systemic stresses began to gather in 2007, addressing that pesky Funds rate, culminating in December, 2008’s official ZIRP (zero interest rate policy). Here again is the chart showing the S&P 500’s ‘Hump #3’ attended by this most beneficial monetary policy.
As noted again and again, the much trumpeted ‘taper’ of QE is not only not a negative for the economy, we have made a strong case that its mechanics are actually a positive, in the near term at least. But putting ZIRP on the table would be a whole different ball of wax.
 Formatting errors have been corrected from an original version posted earlier. The following is excerpted from this week’s Notes From the Rabbit Hole, NFTRH 247: As the 10-year to T-bill yield curve chart makes clear, we are not in Kansas anymore. We are in Wonderland and as you can see, in Wonderland interest rates and their interrelationships are at the center of events. Last … Continue reading Rates of Interest