Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Central Bank

Trump’s Establishment Pick for Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, Won’t Rock the Boat

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 3, 2017: 

Nothing will change with Trump’s nomination of Powell to head the Fed. He has a strong establishment background and opposed former Congressman Ron Paul’s effort to “Audit the Fed.”

In announcing his pick to replace Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen, President Trump was generous in his praise for Jerome Powell, a present Fed board member:

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U.S. Economy Continues to Surprise to the Upside

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 31, 2017: 

One measure of how the U.S. economy continues to exceed expectations is the Economic Surprise Index published by Citigroup. It’s a tool that is used to measure how the economy compares to those expectations and, at the moment at least, it reflects the ebullience reported elsewhere. Any reading above zero indicates that the economy’s performance is exceeding projections. On Tuesday it hit 40 — its highest level since April.

That performance has repeatedly been reported in The New American and elsewhere, with these notable results:

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As the Fed Shrinks Its Balance Sheet, Nothing Can Go Wrong

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 20, 2017:

Investors and Wall Street gurus, seers, and prognosticators paid attention on Wednesday to the emanations from the Federal Reserve board meeting, hoping to glean more of the details about the “great unwinding” of the Fed’s enormously bloated balance sheet. In June, Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the time was drawing near to begin reducing the Fed’s balance sheet and there were at least two ways to start: letting maturing bonds “roll off” instead of reinvesting the proceeds in new issues, and liquidating, ever so slowly, some U.S. treasuries, starting at $10 billion a month in October. That liquidation would increase on a quarterly basis until it topped out at $50 billion a month.

The goal, it was suggested, was to

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Impact of Fed’s Plan to Do a “QE Unwind”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, September 19, 2017: 

English: Official picture of Janet Yellen from...

Janet Yellen

What makes tomorrow’s [today’s – Wednesday, September 20] meeting at the Federal Reserve so interesting to market watchers and bond investors is the likelihood that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide more details on her plans to begin unwinding the Fed’s balance sheet: how much, how fast, how soon, and what does it all mean? In addition, she is hoping to placate conservatives in Congress who remain unhappy over the Fed’s intervention in the markets in the aftermath of the real estate collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

In June, Yellen outlined some possible scenarios, which included letting some of the bonds on the central bank’s enormous $4.2 trillion balance sheet simply mature without reinvesting the funds in new issues. She suggested the Fed would also start selling off some $10 billion a month of existing securities, and then raise that amount every quarter until it reaches $50 billion a month. This way, by expanding on her plans, and by slowly — very slowly — shrinking the Fed massive balance sheet, she hopes to avoid another “taper tantrum” that bond investors experienced back in 2013 when then-chairman Ben Bernanke first said the Fed should start reducing some of its holdings of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

If she provides sufficient clarity, and sufficient caution, Yellen might not only start the process without disrupting the market, but also avoid further criticism from congressional critics who think the Fed stepped way out of bounds in starting the whole “quantitative easing” (QE) program in the first place. In that way — again, if she is successful — she will not only cement into place the Fed as a necessary element in the American economy, but show that further “QE” expansions to meet future recessions are a legitimate tool.

Whether she can pull it off is an open question. Keynesian economist Austan Goolsbee, who headed Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2010 and 2011, said, “The final exam, with the grade yet to be determined, is: can the Fed actually get out of this stuff?”

The Fed has been essentially flying blind for years, moving outside not only its mandate (to maximize labor force participation while keeping inflation under control) but its past experience. Said David Blanchflower, a Dartmouth College economist (read: Keynesian) who was on the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England from 2006 to 2009, expressed it perfectly: “We had no idea what we should buy, how much, for how long … [and] there is no idea on the way going out.”

It was all a grand experiment: expand the money supply to keep interest rates so far below market rates that people seeking income would take higher risks — i.e., dividend-paying stocks, real estate ventures, etc. — and home owners would find it easier to buy houses. This was the Keynesian antidote to the economic collapse. Rather than let the economy right itself by itself (see America’s recession and recovery in 1920-1921), Keynesians suffer the hubris to think they know better than the market, and intervened, resulting in the longest, slowest recovery from a recession in American history.

Once the Fed began to embark on its plan to bail out banks and other financial institutions in the wake of the real estate collapse, there was no going back. When the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — mortgage insurers that were approaching bankruptcy — it found that it needed to buy up billions of their failing mortgages. That explains why $1.7 billion of the Fed’s balance sheet consists of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

But when that didn’t work the Fed adopted the strategy of “quantitative easing” (QE) — creating money to spur spending across the economy — which some observers thought would never end.

But it did end, in 2014, and the Fed has been sitting on its massive pile of government and mortgage debt, waiting for the economy to revive enough so it could be offloaded without major economic disruptions.

The Fed won’t be unwinding its entire portfolio. Instead it expects to reduce it by between $800 billion and $1 trillion over the next few years, leaving in place a balance sheet of between $2.5 and $3.2 trillion. This means that the Fed will never again see days when its balance sheet shrinks all the way back to the $900 billion it had prior to the Great Recession.

Its plan should have little impact on short-term rates. Using the 10-year Treasury as the standard, when Yellen’s plan (assuming it begins in October) kicks in, it might boost its yield by perhaps a quarter of a percentage point. This would be the natural result of increasing supply in a market with a fixed demand. When more is supplied, prices will go down. In the bond market that translates into a mini-interest rate hike.

But demand from abroad for U.S. bonds continues to be strong. Yields on 10-year bonds issued by foreign governments such as Japan’s and Germany’s remain far below U.S. 10-year bonds and so any increase in rates here will only make them more attractive to foreign buyers.

In fact, once Yellen has filled in the details, as she is expected to do on Wednesday, investors and market watchers are likely to express a sigh of relief, and continue the Fed-fueled rally in stocks that began in 2009 and that shows little sign of stopping. Diane Swonk, chief economist at DS Economics, agrees: “The start to reducing the Fed’s balance sheet is an action the markets are ready for. The Fed has laid out a roadmap and there is really a sense of relief to finally get it started.”

New York Fed: Economy Will Benefit From Harvey and Irma

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 11, 2017:

Frédéric Bastiat

Frédéric Bastiat

In a statement reflecting a worldview taught by all major universities and espoused by central bankers around the world, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, William Dudley, said on Friday that, on net, the destruction wrought by the hurricanes will be positive for the economy: “[The initial] effects tend to be pretty transitory. [But] the long-run effect of these disasters unfortunately is it actually lifts economic activity because you have to rebuild all the things that have been damaged by the storms.”

Dudley got the first part right:

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If Dudley is Right, Then Let’s Pray for the Flooding of the Entire Country!

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 11, 2017:

Cover of "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Cover of The Emperor’s New Clothes

Taken to its logical conclusion, William Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, thinks a flood covering all of the United States would stimulate the economy. Several sources confirmed that this is what Dudley said on Friday in an interview at CNBC concerning the economic effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma:

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Trump Takes Credit for Banner Jobs Report

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 4, 2017:  

Within 15 minutes of Friday morning’s release of the July jobs numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), President Trump tweeted: “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released — and I have just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!”

He has good reason to cheer:

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Trump Administration Tips Its Hand, Oks Third Greek Bailout

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 17, 2017:

It took EURACTIV, the online source that focuses on European policymaking, to report that the Trump administration has signaled that, previous protestations to the contrary, it won’t object to a third Greek bailout. The anonymous Trump administration tipster told its reporters: “We’re looking for the Europeans to help Greece to resolve its economic problems by the Fund [the International Monetary Fund], despite the criticism of many Republicans regarding the two previous bailout programs in 2010 and 2012.”

This anonymous tip kicks to the curb protestations voiced by Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in February that

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Do Trump’s Flip Flops Reflect Lack of Constitutional Understanding?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 14, 2017:

Pebble massage sandals from Dalian, China.

Flip flops

The mainstream media have rejoiced because they perceive that President Donald Trump has abandoned policies and changed long-held positions that they have considered anathema. Politico said the president has “demonstrated an incredible willingness to bend his past positions, or abandon them entirely. Sometimes he offers an explanation; sometimes not.” CNN called them “stunning U-turns on key issues” reflecting “extraordinary political shape-shifting.”

The “key issues” are Syria, Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve, NAFTA, NATO, his hiring freeze, China’s currency manipulation, and the Export-Import Bank.

Syria tops the list currently as the president,

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Growing Pension Crisis Looms Over Wall Street

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 27, 2017:

Logo of the United States Pension Benefit Guar...

Logo of the United States Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

The looming state and municipal pension plan crisis, estimated by Moody’s at $1.75 trillion just a few months ago, has now been adjusted upward to  $1.9 trillion. But that number, according to Bloomberg’s Danielle DiMartino Booth, greatly underestimates the level of underfunding. It’s more like $6 trillion “if the prevailing yields on Treasuries were used.”

Instead, most state and local pension plans use a much higher, more generous, and more deceptive assumed rate of return of between six and seven percent, with some still clinging to a “castles in the sky” eight percent. Those assumptions greatly reduce the pressure on plan sponsors to make proper contributions to fund those plans.

And, according to the investment firm GMO (Grantham, Mayo & van Otterloo),

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Greece Needs Another Bailout; Disagreement Threatens EU Itself

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

IMF Headquarters, Washington, DC.

IMF Headquarters

The report on Greece’s financial condition issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday was dismal, but, said the central bank, its future remains bright. First, the bad news: The EU member will fall far short of the budget-surplus targets put in place in order to get the last bailout. The Greek economy must grow at 3.1 percent but it expanded by only 0.4 percent last year.

However, the IMF said Greece’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2017. An unnamed European Union official who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity said that

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Venezuela’s Dictator Fires Head of Central Bank; Inflation at 1,600 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 23, 2017:

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro (shown), fired the head of his country’s central bank on Friday. Without fanfare or any public statement from either Maduro or his banker, Nelson Merentes, the firing is the latest move by the president to place the blame for the collapse of his country anywhere but where it belongs: on his socialist policies.

For months The New American has tracked the retrogression of a country which was once one of the leading economies in South America to a banana republic where people are starving, sick people are dying for lack of care, and a black market has replaced a once-thriving free economy. Last June, the New York Times was finally forced to admit the cause:

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Venezuela: Some Lessons Must be Learned Over and Over Again

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 23, 2017:

George Santayana most famously said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But he wasn’t the only one. Aldous Huxley put it this way: “That men do not learn very much the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Said Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

There’s a lesson being taught to the hapless and now helpless citizens (shown above) of Venezuela. It’s a lesson so often taught but not learned that one may, with great confidence, predict the final outcome.

On Friday Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, fired his banker,

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Civilization’s Thin Veneer

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 14, 2016:  

The dictionary defines civilization as “an ideal state of human culture characterized by a complete absence of barbarism and non-rational behavior.” Rich Galen thinks a better definition is living in a “constant state of positive assumptions.”

Many of those assumptions are coming into question, with many more already proven to be false. One of them is that pension plans are safe, that promises made will be kept, and that the assumptions underlying those plans regarding rates of return on invested assets are reasonable and that they virtually guarantee predictable results.

Those positive assumptions vanished last summer in Athens when

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Trump Picks Former Goldman Sachs Banker for Treasury Secretary

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 30, 2016:  

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

One of the first criticisms over Donald Trump’s nomination of former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday for Treasury secretary came from the Democratic National Committee: “So much for draining the swamp … nominating Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary is a slap in the face to voters who hoped [Trump] would shake up Washington.”

Just the name “Goldman Sachs” sends shivers down the backs of Americanists.

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Donald Trump Meets Ayn Rand

The Passion of Ayn Rand

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 30, 2016:  

Ayn Rand passed away in 1982 at age 77 when Donald Trump was just 36. But the astounding success of her masterwork, Atlas Shrugged, led to an interview at the Trump Tower on Monday in the form of one of her most avid fans: John Allison.

Allison, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina in 1971, read a copy of it as a young man and it changed his life. There’s an outside possibility that it might change the life of millions of others.

Following graduation he went to work for BB&T Corporation, a small rural bank in North Carolina. By 1989 Allison was the bank’s CEO. By 2010 he had grown the bank from $4.5 billion in assets to

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Trump Meets With Former Banker Who Wants to End the Fed

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 29, 2016: 

John Allison BB&T

John Allison

Donald Trump met with former banker John Allison on Monday in a meeting that was largely ignored by the mainstream media. It remains unclear whether Allison was being interviewed for the job of secretary of the Treasury or was just giving Trump some advice from a free market perspective.

Either way, it’s a breath of fresh air in an era where statism and excessive hubris (the idea that mere politicians and economists can guide, even stimulate a $20-trillion-dollar economy with monetary policy) has reigned for decades.

Right after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina in 1971,

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Venezuelan Currency Lost Half Its Value in November

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Nicolas Maduro

Bloomberg reported last Thursday that Venezuela’s currency — the bolívar fuerte or “strong bolivar” — has lost 45 percent of its purchasing power so far this month, with six days to go. The underlying cause was put simply by Professor Milton Friedman, a member of the “Chicago School” of economic free market thinking and winner in 1976 of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon … and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

On the other hand, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro,

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Candidates Silent as Government Spending Jumps, Deficit Increases

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 17, 2016:  

On Friday, the Treasury Department published the final revenue and spending numbers for the federal government for Fiscal Year 2016, which ended on September 30. According to Treasury’s report, spending increased significantly (by nearly five percent) over the previous year, to more than $3.8 trillion, while revenues remained essentially flat from the year before, at $3.25 trillion. That left a shortfall of approximately $600 billion, forcing the government to borrow 15 cents of every dollar it spent last year. And the two presidential candidates have remained disturbingly silent about the issue.

Said Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan group that favors reducing the deficit,

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Hanjin Bankruptcy: a Harbinger for the Global Economy?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 8, 2016:  

English: A Delmas operated Container ship NICO...

South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping was the world’s seventh-largest container shipping company, moving (until last week) 100 million tons of cargo on its 200 cargo ships from manufacturers to retailers across the globe. Last week, following years of losses as the global economy has slowed, Hanjin declared bankruptcy. That move stranded 90 of those ships as off-loading companies refused to unload them over concerns that they wouldn’t be paid.

Even an offer of $90 million from what’s left of Hanjin (including $36 million from the personal assets of its chairman) fell far short of the necessary $543 million estimated to unload all of its ships that are now circling ports around the world.

Concerns are mounting that

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.