Most Popular
1. Banking Crisis is Stocks Bull Market Buying Opportunity - Nadeem_Walayat
2.The Crypto Signal for the Precious Metals Market - P_Radomski_CFA
3. One Possible Outcome to a New World Order - Raymond_Matison
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Apple AAPL Stock Trend and Earnings Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
6.AI, Stocks, and Gold Stocks – Connected After All - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Stock Market CHEAT SHEET - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.US Debt Ceiling Crisis Smoke and Mirrors Circus - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Silver Price May Explode - Avi_Gilburt
10.More US Banks Could Collapse -- A Lot More- EWI
Last 7 days
US Interest Rates - When WIll the Fed Pivot - 1st Mar 2024
S&P Stock Market Real Earnings Yield - 29th Feb 2024
US Unemployment is a Fake Statistic - 29th Feb 2024
U.S. financial market’s “Weimar phase” impact to your fiat and digital assets - 29th Feb 2024
What a Breakdown in Silver Mining Stocks! What an Opportunity! - 29th Feb 2024
Why AI will Soon become SA - Synthetic Intelligence - The Machine Learning Megatrend - 29th Feb 2024
Keep Calm and Carry on Buying Quantum AI Tech Stocks - 19th Feb 24
How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - 17th Feb 24
Why Rising Shipping Costs Won't Cause Inflation - 17th Feb 24
Intensive 6 Week Stock Market Elliott Wave Training Course - 17th Feb 24
INFLATION and the Stock Market Trend - 17th Feb 24
GameStop (GME): 88% Shellacking Yet No Lesson Learned - 17th Feb 24
Nick Millican Explains Real Estate Investment in a Changing World - 17th Feb 24
US Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 7th Feb 24
Stocks Bull Market Commands It All For Now - 7th Feb 24
Financial Markets Narrative Nonsense - 7th Feb 24
Gold Price Long-Term Outlook Could Not Look Better - 7th Feb 24
Stock Market QE4EVER - 7th Feb 24
Learn How to Accumulate and Distribute (Trim) Stock Positions to Maximise Profits - Investing 101 - 5th Feb 24
US Exponential Budget Deficit - 5th Feb 24
Gold Tipping Points That Investors Shouldn’t Miss - 5th Feb 24
Banking Crisis Quietly Brewing - 5th Feb 24
Stock Market Major Market lows by Calendar Month - 4th Feb 24
Gold Price’s Rally is Normal, but Is It Really Bullish? - 4th Feb 24
More Problems in US Regional Banking System: Where There's Fire There's Smoke - 4th Feb 24
New Hints of US Election Year Market Interventions & Turmoil - 4th Feb 24
Watch Consumer Spending to Know When the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates - 4th Feb 24
STOCK MARKET DISCOUNTING EVENTS BIG PICTURE - 31st Jan 24
Blue Skies Ahead As Stock Market Is Expected To Continue Much Higher - 31st Jan 24
What the Stock Market "Fear Index" VIX May Be Signaling - 31st Jan 24
Stock Market Trend Forecast Review - 31st Jan 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

The Fed’s Monetary Tantrum Will Push The Economy Into Outright Deflation

Interest-Rates / Deflation Aug 01, 2017 - 04:00 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Interest-Rates

It is increasingly evident that the US economy is not taking off like some predicted after the election.

President Trump and the Republicans haven’t passed any of the fiscal stimulus measures we hoped to see. Banks and energy companies have got some regulatory relief, and that helps. But it’s a far cry from the sweeping healthcare reform, tax cuts, and infrastructure spending we were promised.


Serious, major tax reform could postpone a US recession to well beyond 2020, but what we are going to get instead is tinkering around the edges.

On the bright side, unemployment has fallen further, and discouraged workers are re-entering the labor force. But consumer spending is still weak, so people may be less confident than the sentiment surveys suggest.

Inflation has perked up in certain segments like healthcare and housing, but otherwise it’s still low to nonexistent.

Is this, by any stretch of the imagination, the kind of economy in which the Federal Reserve should be tightening monetary policy? No—yet the Fed is doing so.

Making Up for Past Mistakes

It’s partly because they waited too long to end QE and to begin reducing their balance sheet.

FOMC members know they are behind the curve, and they want to pay lip service to doing something before their terms end. Plus, Janet Yellen, Stanley Fischer, and the other FOMC members are religiously devoted to the Phillips curve.

That theory says unemployment this low will create wage-inflation pressure. That no one can see this pressure mounting seems not to matter: It exists in theory and so must be countered.

The attitude among central bankers, who are basically all Keynesians, is that messy reality should not impinge on elegant theory. You just have to glance at the math to recognize the brilliance of the Phillips curve!

It was Winston Churchill who said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Fact is, the lack of wage growth among the bottom 70–80% of workers (the Unprotected class) constitutes a real weakness in the US economy.

If you are a service worker, competition for your job has kept wages down.

It Will Backfire in a Big Way

The risk here is that the Fed will tighten too much, too soon.

We know from recent FOMC minutes that some members have turned hawkish in part because they wanted to offset expected fiscal stimulus from the incoming administration. That stimulus has not been coming, but the FOMC is still acting as if it will be.

What happens when the Fed raises interest rates in the early, uncertain stages of a recession instead of lowering them? I’m not sure we have any historical examples to review. Logic suggests the Fed will curb any inflation pressure that exists and push the economy into outright deflation.

Deflation in an economy as debt-burdened as ours is could be catastrophic.

We would have to repay debt with cash that is gaining purchasing power instead of losing it to inflation. Americans have not seen this happen since the 1930s. It wasn’t fun then, and it would be even less fun now.

Worse, I doubt Trump’s FOMC appointees will make a difference. Trump appears to be far more interested in reducing the Fed’s regulatory role than he is in tweaking its monetary policies.

Let me make an uncomfortable prediction: I think the Trump Fed—and since Trump will appoint at least six members of the FOMC in the coming year, it will be his Fed—will take us back down the path of massive quantitative easing and perhaps even to negative rates if we enter a recession.

The urge to “do something,” or at least be seen as trying to do something, is just going to be too strong.

Get one of the world’s most widely read investment newsletters… free

Sharp macroeconomic analysis, big market calls, and shrewd predictions are all in a week’s work for visionary thinker and acclaimed financial expert John Mauldin. Since 2001, investors have turned to his Thoughts from the Frontline to be informed about what’s really going on in the economy. Join hundreds of thousands of readers, and get it free in your inbox every week.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2022 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in