The Federal Reserve wrapped up its final Federal Open Market Committee meeting of 2019 on Wednesday doing pretty much what was expected — nothing. But in the processing of doing nothing, the central bank said a lot and managed to out-dove expectations.
After cutting interest rates three times in 2019, the FOMC stood pat during its final meeting of the year, holding the interest rate steady at 1.5%.
Stocks have pushed to record highs in recent weeks. If you read the headlines, you’d think it was all about optimism for a trade deal. Or maybe just some general bullishness on the US economy. But Peter Schiff has said that’s not the real reason stocks have continued to climb. In fact, there are a lot of things that should be causing them to go down, but only one thing causing them to go up — the Federal Reserve.
We’ve seen new records in the stock market in recent weeks. The headlines tell us it’s all because of a potential trade deal, but Friday Gold Wrap host Mike Maharrey doesn’t buy it. He says it’s really all about Fed money printing. That may juice the stock market, but there’s a downside – inflation. In this episode of the podcast, Mike talks about it along with the week’s gold news.
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.
It’s been a pretty dreary week on Wall Street with another round of trade war pessimism. Otherwise, there hasn’t been a lot of economic news to roil markets and precious metals have remained pretty much rangebound. But host Mike Maharrey has a silver lining for you on this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, along with a little Fed analysis.
Jerome Powell lectured Congress about the national debt last week, calling it unsustainable. The Federal Reserve chairman is concerned. He admitted that with interest rates already close to zero, the central bank has very little room to cut rates in the event of an economic downturn. Peter Schiff appeared on the Claman Countdown, along with Milken Institute economist Bill Lee to talk about Powell’s comments.
Peter said that while Powell is lecturing Congress, it’s really the Fed’s fault.
Here’s a strange headline for you: “Gold prices near daily highs despite better-than-expected inflation in October.”
This headline is bizarre on a couple of levels. First, since when are rising consumer prices and good news? And second, why wouldn’t inflation be good for gold?
You really have to buy into the mainstream narratives to write that headline.
Fiscal 2020 started just like fiscal 2019 ended – with a massive federal budget deficit. And that has Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell worried. In an ironic bit of political theater, Powell lectured Congress about the spending he helps facilitate.
The budget shortfall last month was 34% higher than the October 2018 deficit, coming in at $134.5 billion, according to the latest Treasury Department report. That starts fiscal 2020 off on track to eclipse a $1 trillion deficit.
Uncle Sam is spending money far faster than he’s taking in. The US federal government ran the biggest budget deficit in seven years in fiscal 2019, according to the Treasury Department. And the spending is even worse than advertised.
The $984 billion deficit amounts to 4.7 percent of GDP. That’s the highest percentage since 2012. It was the fourth consecutive year in which the deficit increased as a percentage of GDP. The debt-to-GDP ratio is estimated to have increased a hefty 26 percent over last year.
The stock market keeps hitting new highs and employment reports continue to look good. President Trump and central bankers at the Fed like to point to this and tell us that the economy is doing good. But as Peter Schiff explained in his latest podcast, the markets aren’t making highs because the economy is good. It’s making highs because of the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies.
Despite the fact that the economic data is deteriorating. Despite the fact that corporate earnings are falling, it is the Fed that is pushing this market to new highs by cutting interest rates, by indicating to the markets that they don’t have to worry about rate hikes no matter what happens with inflation. The Fed’s not going to raise interest rates. Oh, and by the way, they’re doing quantitative easing, and they’re going to print as much money as they have to keep the markets going up and to keep the economy propped up.”
In a recent article published at the Mises Wire, Ryan McMaken adds another layer of analysis. He says that despite the Fed’s positive rhetoric, it’s actually worried about liquidity and growth. In fact, McMaken believes it is operating from a position of fear.