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: Monetary Policy

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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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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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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Congress Votes to Raid Fed’s Slush Fund to Pay for Highways

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 23, 2015:  

In its never-ending quest to spend money it doesn’t have, but not wanting to raise taxes, especially during the current election cycle, on Thursday, November 5 Congress passed a $325-billion, six-year transportation bill that is to be financed by selling off some of the country’s strategic petroleum reserves and raiding the Federal Reserve.

In its editorial complaint about the bill, the Washington Post said

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Home Ownership Rate Lowest Since President LBJ

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 29, 2015:  

English: 904 S. 3rd, Mount Vernon, Washington....

According to the Census Bureau, home ownership in the United States has now dropped to the lowest level since 1967, and estimates are that the decline will continue to the lowest level ever recorded. The rate for the second quarter of 2015 was 63.4 percent, the lowest rate since Lyndon Johnson was president. The rate stands a good chance of reaching the all-time low, 63 percent, set in 1965 when the U.S. government began keeping track of such a statistic.

It wasn’t supposed to happen. In 1995 after the rate dipped to a breath-taking, eye-popping 64.7 percent from the previous 50-year average of 65.3 percent, according to the Census Bureau, the Clinton administration issued a call to arms! The government must do something!

When then-President Bill Clinton announced his “National Homeownership Strategy” in May 1995, he said,

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Swiss Issue an Unequivocal Buy Signal for Gold

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 5, 2014:

Rarely do the precious markets receive such an unequivocal, unblemished, unalloyed buy signal as the one issued by the Swiss when they voted down, 3-to-1, a referendum that would have modestly restricted the activities of its central bank.

Months earlier, polls showed that the “Save Our Swiss Gold” initiative was likely to pass, but massive publicity campaigns and moves by Citigroup to cash in on it caused a huge shift in public sentiment, with the final vote on Sunday, November 30 defeating it by a 78-22% margin.

The Swiss, being a direct democracy, are known for referendums, voting on an average of five of them every year, with most of them failing. But this one caused rejoicing among observers and Swiss National Bank (SNB) officials that likely put in a bottom in the gold market. Had it passed, the referendum would have required the SNB to

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Swiss Bank Referendum Fails, Franc Drops

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 4, 2014:

Banknotes of the Swiss franc

Banknotes of the Swiss franc

The Swiss voted down the initiative “Save Our Swiss Gold” on Sunday, November 30, by a margin of three to one, rejecting efforts to shore up the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) balance sheet. Switzerland, a direct democracy, entertains an average of five such referendums every year, and most of them fail. This initiative would have required the SNB to boost its gold bullion holdings from its current eight percent level to 20 percent over the next five years. It would also have required the central bank to repatriate its foreign-held gold reserves, while prohibiting it from ever selling any of those reserves in the future.

When first proposed, speculators bought the Swiss franc cheap, hoping to sell it dear if the initiative passed. Investors in gold were holding their breaths as well, noting that

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Chinese Economist at IMF warns of Global Housing Bubble

Board of Governors - International Monetary Fu...

Board of Governors – International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The false assumption that regulators can be safely counted upon to steer economies – local, national or global – to full employment with minimal inflation while avoiding booms and busts was unknowingly exposed in the latest yelp from the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Zhu Min. In Chinese, his name means “people rule” or “democracy” but his ideology is firmly rooted in the Keynesian fallacy that economies can be successfully managed by experts without assistance or input from the common folk.

In announcing that the IMF has launched a new website, Global Housing Watch, Min delights in thinking that the world’s economy can be driven by looking through the rear view mirror. He said:

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The newly updated GDP – the GO – still won’t capture all of the US economy

Austrian school economist Mark Skousen has labored mightily for a quarter of a century to persuade the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to publish a better measure of economic activity in the United States, and, beginning in April, the BEA will start publishing the country’s

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If you were sick, what would you do if your doctors told you this?

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.

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The Fed Needs a New Leader, says the Wall Street Journal

Sometimes I seek opportunity. Sometimes opportunity is thrust into my lap. The latter just happened with this unbelievable screed written by Paul Farrell today at the Wall Street Journal‘s MarketWatch. He decries the failed attempts by Fed governors going all the way back to

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Fed’s announcement changes its words, not its actions

It’s hard for me to keep a civil tongue when chief alchemist Ben Bernanke makes an announcement like this. He’s going to buy more government securities in order to lower the unemployment rate, but this won’t affect the inflation rate. If it does, he’ll stop.

For the first time, the Fed has announced a goal for the unemployment rate. By saying that it anticipates that it will keep interest rates extremely low until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5% (as long as inflation doesn’t get out of control), the Fed has become more aggressive about turning the economy around.

It bears repeating:

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Keynesians are Crazy! Here’s Proof:

English: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at...

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For 20 years the Japanese economy has languished. Its stock market, once at 40,000, now is below 10,000. The solution? More of the same medicine that hasn’t worked! It’s insane. At least one intelligent soul has written about it, in The New York Times no less. He calls such policies “unusual”:

For years, proponents of aggressive monetary policy have offered this unusual piece of advice as a way to end Japan’s deflationary slump and invigorate the economy. Print lots of money, they said. Keep interest rates at zero. Convince the market that Japan will allow inflation for a while.

It hasn’t worked. For 20 years it hasn’t worked. So now, Japan’s former prime minister has a great idea:

In a speech in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr. [Shinzo] Abe said he would call for the Bank of Japan to set an inflation target of 2 to 3 percent, far above its current goal of about 1 percent, with an explicit commitment to “unlimited monetary easing” — an open-endedness that has caused jitters among some economists. The bank’s benchmark interest rate should be brought back to zero percent from 0.1 percent, Mr. Abe added.

Abe wants to do even more. He proposes that Japan’s central bank buy construction bonds to

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Bernanke Defends the Indefensible

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke attempted Monday to answer some of the fierce criticism and public unease facing the Fed’s third round of bond purchases, known as quantitative easing or QE3.

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke (Photo credit: osipovva)

This article from MarketWatch is one of the more incredible expositories on the Fed’s negligence and back-pedaling that I’ve seen. Bernanke is, to put it simply, in panic mode. The crowd is seeing that the king is naked and he has to cover his nakedness with words and reassurances. Which makes the crowd more nervous and more skeptical and noisy. It’s an amazing show.

What is his strategy? To do more of the same – do more of what hasn’t worked! That’s the ticket! If he can just get interest rates lower, people will start to

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A Former Fed Official Goes Rogue

CATO – The Fed’s New Round of Quantitative Easing

By introducing another program to buy MBSs [mortgage-backed securities], to the tune of $40 billion per month, the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee, headed by Fed Chairman Bernanke] is supporting the long-standing federal policy of special aid to housing, real estate and mortgage interests.

These federal policies were the largest single contributor to the financial crisis. Why would the Federal Reserve want to encourage continuation of these federal policies?

Modern-day meeting of the Federal Open Market ...

Modern-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at the Eccles Building, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My, my, the landscape does look a little different from the outside, doesn’t it, Mr. Poole?

He is about my age. He attended Swarthmore (I attended Cornell) and received a BA degree in 1959 (I got mine in 1963). He got his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1963 (I got mine in 1964, also from Cornell), and then went on to get his PhD in economics at the University of Chicago. (I didn’t. I went to work in the private sector.)

He started his career in government by working for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors from 1964 to 1974. Then he joined the faculty at Brown University, chairing the economics department there.

Fast forward: in 1998 he served as CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and left in 2008, and now is a Senior Fellow at Cato(!).

Somewhere along the way he got religion. I have great respect for Cato and they wouldn’t hire a fool. Nor would they bring in a Keynesian to undermine their efforts to expose that fraud unless he was an escapee from the reservation.

But listen to what Poole said:

The Federal Reserve says that it is apolitical but this decision is directly supportive of continuation of the current status of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This action is not monetary policy but fiscal policy, extending credit to a favored industry. This policy is crony capitalism, whether practiced by the federal government or by the Federal Reserve.

This is perfect: “crony capitalism” – “extending credit to a favored industry” – “not monetary policy but fiscal policy.” Amazing!

My questions for Mr. Poole: how long did it take you to overcome your Keynesian mindset and enter the real world? Are you a “recovering Keynesian?” Are you just an opportunist? When and how did you see the light? Is there hope for others still on the reservation?

I’d sure like to know.

Ron Paul, QE3, and Unintended Consequences

Ron Paul

Ron Paul (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

On Friday, Congressman Ron Paul, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, invited James Grant and Lewis Lehrman to explore the unintended consequences of the Federal Reserve’s latest plan to install Quantitative Easing Number Three (QE3). The Fed’s announcement on September 13 that it would embark on an “open-ended” program to purchase mortgage-backed securities raised concerns about the long-term impact such a program would have on consumers, savers, and investors.

Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, noted that “prices are the mechanism by which the economy operates” and when the Fed manipulates interest rates, it interferes with prices. In other words, the Fed, by its actions, is engaging in “financial price control” with predictable outcomes, distortions, and consequences:

  1. First, such activity subsidizes speculative activities, as investors seeking higher returns on their capital are forced into making higher risk investments, increasing the chances that they will lose some or all of their capital.
  2. Second, the Fed’s program raises the prices of commodities, as speculators and investors seek a “safe haven” in investments that can’t be inflated or expanded at the wish of a governing board.
  3. Third, this action by the Fed punishes savers and wage earners. Savers receive lower and lower rates of interest on their savings, disrupting plans for home buying and retirement. Wage earners have less incentive to save as the value of their savings becomes more questionable as the dollar loses value.
  4. Fourth, Grant pointed out that the Fed’s plan interferes with international trade, which depends on price predictability over time.

But most importantly, according to Grant, the Fed’s willingness to continue to purchase government securities allows Congress to put off the “day of reckoning” — dealing with the inevitable consequences of

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Truth from the Fed? Impossible!

Austin Hill – Even the Fed Doesn’t Believe It’ll Work

Richard Foster, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said:

With each program we undertake to venture further in that direction (in the direction of using monetary policy as stimulus), we are sailing deeper into uncharted waters.

We are blessed at the Fed with sophisticated econometric models and superb analysts. We can easily conjure up plausible theories as to what we will do when it comes to our next tack or eventually reversing course.

The truth, however, is that nobody on the committee, nor on our staffs at the Board of Governors and the 12 Banks, really knows what is holding back the economy.

Chief Actuary Richard Foster

Chief Actuary Richard Foster (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

What an amazing admission! This comes close to admitting that the King is naked after all! The mantle of credibility is slipping badly when one of its own admits that the Fed hasn’t a clue.

Austin Hill then asks another pertinent question:

[Our economy] is already flush with $1.6 trillion in excess private bank reserves owned by the banking sector and held by the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Trillions more are sitting on the sidelines in corporate coffers. On top of all that, a significant amount of underemployed cash—or fuel for investment—is burning a hole in the pockets of money market funds and other non-depository financial operators.

This begs the question: Why would the Fed provision to shovel billions in additional liquidity into the economy’s boiler when so much is presently lying fallow?

Let me guess: because that’s all they know!

And the impact of continuing, and accelerating, a program that has been proven to be a failure? Here’s a peek at the Federal Reserve’s own chart of the massive “fallow trillions” just waiting…and waiting…to enter the economy and cause the explosion in prices so many are expecting.

When these trillions hit the street, I’m hopeful citizens will remember who’s responsible.

Boston Fed President Calls for More “Stimulus”

printing money

printing money (Photo credit: Paul Nicholson)

After reviewing the weak jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that was released last Friday, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric Rosengren, decided it was time to call for more money to be added to the economy. The jobs report showed a gain that slightly exceeded economists’ consensus, but because of people quitting the work force because they couldn’t find jobs, the unemployment rate went up. And a separate report, not heralded by the media, showed households reported losing more than the BLS’s gains.

What to do? Add more money to the economy. And keep on adding more money until the moribund economy finally awakens. Here’s Rosengren’s prescription:

You [add money] until it’s clear that you’re no longer treading water. You continue to do it until you have documented evidence that you’re getting growth in income and the unemployment rate consistent with your economic goals.

The Fed has already added an astounding $2.3 trillion of new—freshly created out of nothing—money since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, with little to show for it. And so “doctor” Rosengren is calling for more of what made the patient sick in the first place:

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Ron Paul Has the Final Say

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 29:  Republican pres...

In his last public opportunity to quiz Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who appeared before the House Financial Services Committee on July 18, Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took the time to put things into perspective:

For the past few years the Federal Reserve System has received criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, and rightly so, for its unprecedented intervention into the economy and its bailouts of large Wall Street banks and foreign central banks.

This has been Paul’s theme ever since he entered Congress following a special election in April 1976. In a position paper that his staff prepared in June of 1976, Paul attacked a pending bill in Congress to fund the International Monetary Fund following the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement when President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971.

The staffer primarily responsible for that paper, Gary North, remembers starting work on Friday, June 11, 1976, and being given the task of preparing the paper in time for the Monday deadline. He worked all weekend on it, and when it was published, it made such an impression on Senator William Proxmire, then chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, that he invited Paul to testify before his committee. Says North: “At the time, I had never heard of a House member testifying to a Senate Committee. I have never heard of it since.”

But that testimony launched a three-decades-long campaign by that lone congressman to question the existing monetary system, especially the centerpiece of that system, the Federal Reserve.

In his July 18 testimony, Paul recalled his primary problem with the IMF—the same problem he has with the Fed—is that it is a central bank that was deliberately designed to

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Feisty, Fearless Economist Anna Schwartz Dead at 96

Anna Schwartz by David Shankbone

Best known as the co-author, along with Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Freidman, of A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, Anna Jacobson Schwartz died on Thursday, June 21, in New York City at age 96.

A brilliant economist in her own right, she provided the background, the research, and so much of the thinking behind the 859-page A Monetary History that Friedman claimed that “Anna did all the work, and I got most of the recognition.” Considered by many classical economists as the magnum opus on monetary policy (the impact of money supply on economic behavior), by itself it shifted the blame for the Great Depression from the statists’ claim that it was due to excessive laissez-faire capitalism in the 1920s to the interventions by the Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression and that greatly exacerbated both its depth and duration. So powerful were the conclusions that one of the book’s chapters, “The Great Contraction, 1929-33,” was published as a stand-alone paperback in 1965, and the book itself was hailed by the Cato Institute as one of the most influential economics books of the 20th century. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that A Monetary History “transformed the debate about the Great Depression.”

Accolades abounded following the announcement of her passing, even from those who parted ways with her on the role of central banking in a modern economy and the Federal Reserve in particular. George Selgin, a senior fellow at Cato, remembers Schwartz as being candid and uncompromising: “Anna never held a punch, and when she threw one, it landed square on target.” Robert Higgs, a scholar at the Independent Institute, noted, 

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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.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann