The mainstream has suddenly discovered price movements impact retail sales.
For months, retail sales generally came in higher than expected. And for months the mainstream financial punditry ignored inflation and told us this signaled a strong economy. But in July, retail sales unexpectedly fell flat. Now the mainstream financial punditry claims this signals a strong economy.
Fifty-one years ago this week, President Richard Nixon slammed shut the “gold window” and eliminated the last vestige of the gold standard.
Nixon ordered Treasury Secretary John Connally to uncouple gold from its fixed $35 price and suspended the ability of foreign banks to directly exchange dollars for gold. During a national television address, on Aug. 15, 1971, Nixon promised the action would be temporary in order to “defend the dollar against the speculators,” but this turned out to be a lie. The president’s move permanently and completely severed the dollar from gold and turned it into a pure fiat currency.
The US government is addicted to spending money. And the Federal Reserve is Washington DC’s pusher.
When we talk about inflation, we usually focus on money creation by the Fed. After all, that is the definition of inflation. But the Fed has to keep creating money in order to monetize the massive federal deficit. And until Uncle Sam gets his spending problem under control, inflation will never truly abate.
There is no sign the US government is going to get its spending problem under control. Last month, the feds ran the second-largest July budget deficit in history.
Cooling Consumer Price Index data did not cool the hot rhetoric coming from some Federal Reserve members. The question is whether this is a bunch of hot air or do these central bankers actually have the fortitude to move forward with rate hikes in the face of a sinking economy?
As expected, the Consumer Price index cooled a bit thanks to falling gasoline prices. The question is will this give the Federal Reserve the excuse it needs bow out of the inflation fight?
The Consumer Price Index for July was up 8.5% year-on-year. That was down from June’s 9.1% print and slightly below the 8.7% expectation. Of course, an 8.5% increase in prices over the course of a year is still extremely hot.
After the second straight negative GDP print in Q2, the markets began anticipating that the Federal Reserve would pivot away from its monetary tightening. But a few choice words from some Fed members this week caused thoughts of a pivot to pivot. As Peter Schiff put it in his podcast, it appears to be damn the recession! Full ahead with rate hikes. The question is how long can the Fed keep this up?
The Federal Reserve delivered another 75 basis point interest rate hike at its July FOMC meeting. This pushes the federal funds rate over the 2% threshold to between 2.25% and 2.5%.
The mainstream media emphasized the size of the hike. One headline called it “a second super-sized hike,” with many other mainstream pundits noting that it matched a June hike was the biggest since 1994. But it wasn’t as big as the full 1% hike everybody thought was on the table after we got June’s flaming hot Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.
Here’s the question: has the Fed reached the end of its rope? Will this be the last hike in this cycle?
You don’t have to worry about that recession anymore. The White House fixed it.
And by “fixed it” I mean it just changed the commonly held definition of a recession.
Putin is causing inflation. Greedy corporations are causing inflation. COVID-19 caused inflation. We hear all kinds of reasons for the recent spike in prices. And now we have a new one. It’s the millennials’ fault.
This is all wrong and it illustrates the problem with redefining inflation to be something it isn’t.