The student loan forgiveness program recently announced by President Joe Biden stirred up quite the political brouhaha. Progressives praised Biden for helping students burdened by overwhelming student loan debt. Conservatives decried it as an unfair giveaway. But as with most issues, the popular political debate misses the bigger picture.
The student loan crisis was primarily a problem of the federal government’s own creation. And no matter what you think about the forgiveness program, it fails to address the root of the problem.
Do we even need the Federal Reserve?
Whether on the political left, right, or in the middle, virtually everybody thinks we do. After all, without the Fed, we’ll have wild economic swings and crashes.
Economist Edward Stringham disagrees. In this It’s Your Dime Interview, he talks about it with host Mike Maharrey and makes the case that the economy would function just fine without a central bank pulling strings. In fact, as he explains, the Fed actually stirs up economic chaos.
Did you now skyscrapers can predict economic crashes?
And the skyscraper index is flashing red.
As economist Mark Thronton explained in his book, The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century, the so-called Skyscraper Index has a remarkably accurate record signaling economic downturns dating back to the late 19th century.
Last week, Keynesian extraordinaire Paul Krugman called for more fiscal stimulus in the form of a “government investment program.” Mike Maharrey poked fun of him in his Fun on Friday column. But while it might be amusing to crack jokes at the expense of Keynsians and their obsession with both fiscal and monetary stimulus, the policies they promote are actually quite pernicious.
In fact, the do the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to.
Gold and silver are down this week. There was some more hopeful trade war news and stronger than expected economic data that drove markets this week. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey covers it, plus some news that’s being mostly ignored. And he ponders a question: should we be looking at the economic glass as half-empty or half-full — and why?
When the Federal Reserve artificially manipulates interest rates, it’s messing with our minds by distorting important signals that prices provide in a free market. As investment guru Jim Grant put it in a recent article in Barron’s, central bank interest rates are nothing but crude price controls.
Like all price controls, the Fed’s interest rate mechanizations create some winners and some losers. But in the long run, the distortions caused by the central bank’s interventionist monetary policy makes us all losers.
Central bankers and politicians think they can run the economy.
In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap, host Mike Maharrey digs into some fundamental economic theories that explain why these central planners will always fail, no matter how noble their intentions.
After Jerome Powell indicated that the Federal Reserve tightening cycle was on pause during last week’s FOMC meeting, Peter Schiff said, “The monetary drug pushers at the Federal Reserve gave the addicts on Wall Street exactly the fix that they had been craving.”
Peter often compares the markets to drug addicts. They are addicted to the easy money the central bank provides. Reuters used that same imagery to describe America’s business community in the wake of the “loose money era,” saying it left a “trail of US corporate debt junkies.
We talk a lot about how central banks serve as the primary force driving the business cycle. When a recession hits, central banks like the Federal Reserve drive interest rates down and launch quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. Once the recovery takes hold, the Fed tightens its monetary policy, raising interest rates and ending QE. When the recovery appears to be in full swing, the central bank shrinks its balance sheet. This sparks the next recession and the cycle repeats itself.
This is a layman’s explanation of the business cycle. But how do the maneuverings of central banks actually impact the economy? How does this work?
The Yield Curve Accordion Theory is one way to visually grasp exactly what the Fed and other central banks are doing. Westminster College assistant professor of economics Hal W. Snarr explained this theory in a recent Mises Wire article.