In anticipation of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve on December 23rd, House member Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Chairman of the House’s Joint Economic Committee, decided back in March to offer a bill to create a commission to
More than half of 200 US companies with sales greater than $1 billion are moving jobs back to the US, or are planning to, within the next two years. The announcement by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on Tuesday confirms a subterranean paradigm shift that’s been underway for at least
Just when it appeared that Larry Summers had the nomination for the next Fed chair all wrapped up, Summers called the White House on Sunday and told his good friend, President Obama, that he was withdrawing his name from consideration. He then sent a formal withdrawal letter to the president:
I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.
The president dutifully responded with the appropriate accolades:
On the surface Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) wasn’t so bad: 169,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate dropped slightly, once again, to 7.3%. This was slightly below expectations (180,000) but about in line with the average monthly gains over the past year.
But – and it’s a big but – not everyone is participating, and some of those numbers
Citing an unnamed source from “Team Obama”, CNBC announced that Larry Summers will be named head of the Federal Reserve by President Obama to replace outgoing chairman Ben Bernanke whose term expires on December 31st.
Despite much media conversation about other potential candidates for the position, chief among them Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen, Summers always had the inside track. Summers served as
This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 23rd, 2013:
On Wednesday, Insider Monkey, the service from Stocknomics that tracks insider trades and hedge fund activity, said that “the constant drama over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) seems to be hitting the newswires daily … [and] some hedge funds want nothing to do with Monsanto…. Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) has experienced declining interest from the entirety of the hedge funds we track.” It added:
Professor James Hamilton, economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, just published his best estimate of the federal government’s “off-balance-sheet” liabilities and concludes that the real national debt, popularly estimated to be $16.9 trillion, is in fact more than four times larger: $70.086 trillion. This is because of decisions to
When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Trendon Shavers, the founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) was running a Ponzi scheme, Shavers challenged the agency by claiming that bitcoins didn’t fall under their definition of securities and so therefore he and his company were exempt from SEC rules. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant ruled otherwise, which was bad news for Shavers but good news for
The consumer confidence numbers announced on Tuesday by The Conference Board surprised even the economists who had expected a decline rather than the nearly 10-point increase that the board reported. The index came in at 81.4 compared to economists’ expectations of
In one of the more remarkable examples of dissembling, Alicia Munnell uses the oldest trick in the book: belittle the accuser while ignoring the facts. The accuser is Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor at Boston University who is about to issue his 2013 estimate of the unfunded liability facing the US government. Currently it’s
When the Japanese stock market lost more than 6 percent of its value on Wednesday in a massive selloff, pundits jumped on the move to try to explain what happened, and what it all means. Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Markets, wrote:
In the announcement by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Monday that affirmed its AA+ rating of United States sovereign debt while revising upward its outlook from “negative” to “stable,” the agency explained that in the short run there has been some perceptible improvement in the country’s fiscal situation but in the long run
The report from Automatic Data Processing (ADP) on Wednesday morning surprised economists once again by coming in substantially below their expectations. The 135,000 new private sector jobs created in May were way below the
When libertarian scholar Peter Ferrara asked rhetorically in Sunday’s issue of Forbes, “Economically, Could Obama be America’s Worst President?” he relied heavily on statistics provided by the chief enabler of the Great Recession,
Two writers at The New York Times have embraced the fallacy that cutting government spending is keeping the economy from growing. It is Keynesian claptrap.
Let’s let them rant a little before responding:
It’s nice to get confirmation about something I’ve held for years, especially from someone like Mark Hulbert who has been in the investment game for years: the S&P 500 Index is nowhere near a new all-time high, on an inflation-adjusted basis. Not even close.
The all-time high was back in
My subscription to Gary North’s newsletter just paid for it self in one commentary. His analysis of this article helped improve my understanding of their conclusion: prices could decline in the near future.
I subscribe to John Mauldin’s free newsletter which today consisted of an outlook by two other very bright guys, Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington. I have read both of them. And Mauldin used to be a partner of Gary North. Confused? Don’t be. This is just to say that they have immense credibility with me and I would automatically be sympathetic to their point of view.
But with North’s analysis I now have a better understanding:
The Fed is deliberately driving down the velocity of money (how fast money circulates) by keeping the banks’ excess reserves with them rather than letting the banks lend them out. They do that by paying interest on those reserves. Look at it from the bankers’ perspectives: why would you loan your precious reserves to risky customers, even those with excellent credit ratings, when you can make risk-free loans to the Fed and earn interest there? True, it’s less interest than you might get from a customer, but with them you run the risk of not getting your money back. You don’t have to worry about that with the Fed.
So North thinks it’s a deliberate policy to keep the banks from lending, which keeps price inflation from hitting the grocery stores. He says it’s the best of all possible worlds for the Fed: they can continue to finance the government deficits with digital money without price inflation.
If, however, the Fed decides to stop paying interest on those reserves, or worse, decided to start charging interest on those reserves, this action would force the banks to take back those reserves and start lending them out. This would result in price inflation almost immediately. North thinks that if the Fed does that (reverses course), we could see prices double in a matter of months. For the time being, however, the Fed has no interest in doing that. I’m not sure why the Fed would ever start charging interest on those reserves. So price inflation is highly unlikely, and we might even see some small decrease in the overall price level. This is helpful information. It agrees with the conclusion by Hunt and Hoisington but I have a better understanding, thanks to North.
Here’s the link to North’s analysis. You’ll see that it’s a paywall. I pay $9.95 a month to get over that wall and read his stuff. This single analysis of a well-written article which could have misled me and my understanding of the world has paid for my subscription for a least a year. I think North is way undercharging. Don’t tell him I said so.
There’s an old saw about the purpose of economists is to make weather forecasting look good. The Commerce Department just reported this morning that in the first quarter the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country grew at an annualized rate of 2.5%, substantially below economists’ estimates of 3.2%. And looking past the headlines,
You’re sick. You’ve been sick for several weeks now. You’re long past the “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” protocol. You’re jaundiced, you’re not sleeping well, you’re losing weight, people are asking if you’re ok, the whole deal. You decide to find a doctor. You find four, all in the same office.
Whenever someone as smart as David Stockman (President Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget) writes a 768-page book (The Great Deformation), it makes me nervous, for two reasons: I don’t have the time to read 768 pages, but if I don’t I might miss something important. So I was gratified that
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