The Federal Reserve is talking about raising interest rates. But the US economy is buried under piles of debt. I’ve been asking how this is going to work for months. Apparently, the question has finally occurred to the mainstream.
A CNBC article declared, “Fed rate hikes will intensify a global debt crisis, research warns.”
So, how are your New Year’s resolutions going?
Mine are going fantastic!
I didn’t make any.
President Joe Biden is running around trying to take credit for a “booming” economy. It’s the ultimate political dumb-guy argument.
Elizabeth Warren and others are running around blaming inflation on greedy corporations’ “price gouging.” Of course, this narrative falls apart when you realize producer prices are rising faster than consumer prices. If anything, producers are letting consumers gouge them by not passing on all of their rising costs.
The Federal Reserve released the minutes from the December FOMC meeting on Thursday (Jan. 5) and the markets freaked once again at the prospect of monetary tightening. The minutes seem to indicate an even more abrupt shift to tighter monetary policy to fight inflation. But I have questions.
I hope everybody had a great Christmas and found everything they wanted under their Christmas tree.
In the spirit of the season, I want to tell you about a Christmas present James Madison gave the United States way back in 1798. It is a bit of history that has fallen down the Orwellian memory hole. But it is extremely important to understand because it has a powerful application today.
Labor market productivity has been dropping for decades. And you can trace the plunge back to the demise of the gold standard.
US labor market productivity plummeted in the third quarter of 2021. Revisions to the data showed a 5.2% drop in productivity, even worse than the dismal initial reading last month. It was the worst productivity decline since 1960.
Taper? What taper?
Last week, the Fed announced that it plans to speed up the pace of its asset purchase taper. But so far, this taper hasn’t been very impressive. Between Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, the Fed added another 92.1 billion to its balance sheet, expanding it to a record $8.757 trillion.
‘Tis the season for Christmas specials.
I’m not going to lie – even as a grown man, I love watching Christmas specials. Snoopy decorating his dog house. The Grinch folding up the Christmas tree like an umbrella and stuffing it up the chimney. And Frosty the snowman melting in the greenhouse.
In October, retail sales surged much higher than expected, rising 1.7%. The mainstream gushed over retail spending, asserting that it was a sign that the economy is booming. At the time, I argued that it wasn’t necessarily good news.
Well, the news just got even worse. Retail sales in November disappointed, despite another big surge in inflation.