Friday, December 14, 2012

The Fed: What the Fed can do and What it Cannot Do

More ink and conversation is wasted on what the Fed is planning to do regarding interest rates.  The Fed doesn't set rates other than it's own lending rate -- nothing else.  Treasuries don't have low rates because the Fed wills it.  Treasuries have low rates for the same reason the US economy is in shambles -- everyone is fearful of the future.  As bad a bet as treasuries are, at the moment, most investors feel safer in treasuries than in other assets.  That's why rates are low.  The Fed has little or nothing to do with that.

What the Fed can do is change the money supply and they are doing that.  They can also "monetize" the debt and they are doing that.

Sooner or later a panic will take place and the world will run from US treasuries.  It won't be pretty and everyone will quit talking about the Fed and begin talking about the insolvency of the US, which is the real issue.  The Fed is a sideshow. 

Ben Bernanke, like lots of "political economists" is fighting the battle of the 1930s.  He thinks we have a liquidity problem.  That's why he indulges in Q1, Q2, and Q3.  We don't have a liquidity problem which is why Fed policy is having no impact on employment and aggregate demand.

America has a debt problem and a regulatory problem and a tax problem.  Unless you solve those things, the Fed and Obama and all the rest are completely irrelevant.  Obama is relevant only as the maestro leading the US economy to disaster.  But, don't look to the Fed.  The Fed is just Obama's handmaiden in all of this.