Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.US Paving the Way for Massive First Strike on North Korea Nuclear and Missile Infrastructure - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Trump Reset: US War With China, North Korea Nuclear Flashpoint - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Silver Junior Mining Stocks 2017 Q2 Fundamentals - Zeal_LLC
4.Soaring Inflation Plunges UK Economy Into Stagflation, Triggers Government Pay Cap Panic! - Nadeem_Walayat
5.The Bitcoin Blueprint To Your Financial Freedom - Sean Keyes
6.North Korea 'Begging for War', 'Enough is Enough', is a US Nuclear Strike Imminent? - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Bitcoin Hits All-Time High and Smashes Through $5,000 As Gold Shows Continued Strength - Jeff_Berwick
8.2017 is NOT "Just Another Year" for the Stock Market: Here's Why - EWI
9.Gold : The Anatomy of the Bottoming Process - Rambus_Chartology
10.Bitcoin Falls 20% as Mobius and Chinese Regulators Warn - GoldCore
Last 7 days
Warren Buffett Predicting Dow One Million - Being Bold Or Overly Cautious? - 17th Oct 17
Globalization is Poverty - 17th Oct 17
Boomers Are Not Saving Enough for Retirement, Neither Is the Government - 16th Oct 17
Stock Market Trading Dow Theory - 16th Oct 17
Stocks Slightly Higher as They Set New Record Highs - 16th Oct 17
Why is Big Data is so Important for Casino Player Acquisition and Retention - 16th Oct 17
How Investors Can Play The Bitcoin Boom - 16th Oct 17
Who Will Be the Next Fed Chief - And Why It Matters  - 16th Oct 17
Stock Market Only Minor Top Ahead - 16th Oct 17
Precious Metals Sector is on Major Buy Signal - 16th Oct 17
Really Bad Ideas - The Fed Should Have And Defend An Inflation Target - 16th Oct 17
The Bullish Chartology for Gold - 15th Oct 17
Wikileaks Mocking US Government Over Bitcoin Shows Why There Is No Stopping Bitcoin - 15th Oct 17
How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico's Debt Without Hurting Bondholders - 15th Oct 17
Gold And Silver – Think Prices Are Manipulated? Look In The Mirror! - 15th Oct 17
Q4 Pivot View for Stocks and Gold - 14th Oct 17
Gold Mining Stocks Q3’17 Preview - 14th Oct 17
U.S. Mint Gold Coin Sales and VIX Point To Increased Market Volatility and Higher Gold - 14th Oct 17
Yuan and Gold - 14th Oct 17
Tips for Avoiding a Debt Meltdown - 14th Oct 17
Bitcoin Hits New All-Time High Above $5,000 As Lagarde Concedes Defeat and Jamie Demon Shuts Up - 13th Oct 17
Golden Age for GOLD, Dark Age for the Stock Market - 13th Oct 17
The Struggle for Bolivia Is About to Begin - 13th Oct 17
3 Reasons to Take Your Invoicing Process Mobile - 13th Oct 17
What Happens When Amey Fells All of a Streets Trees (Sheffield Tree Fellings) - Video - 13th Oct 17
Stock Market Charts Show Smart Money And Dumb Money Are Moving In Opposite Directions—Here’s Why - 12th Oct 17
Your Pension Is a Lie: There’s $210 Trillion of Liabilities Our Government Can’t Fulfill - 12th Oct 17
Two Highly Recommended Books from Bob Prechter - 12th Oct 17
Turning Point Nations On The Stage - 11th Oct 17
The Profoundly Personal Impact Of The National Debt On Our Retirements - 11th Oct 17
Gold and Silver Report – Several Interesting Charts - 10th Oct 17
London House Prices Are Falling – Time to Buckle Up - 10th Oct 17
The S&P Is A Bloated Corpse - 10th Oct 17
Are Gold and the US Dollar Rallying Together? - 10th Oct 17
Is Silver Turning? - 9th Oct 17
Bitcoin Needs Electricity, Gold CONDUCTS Electricity - 9th Oct 17
S&P 500 At Record High But Will Stocks Continue Even Higher? - 9th Oct 17
Gold and Silver on Major Buy Signal, The Cycle is Up - 9th Oct 17
How To Fight Corruption in the Philippines - 9th Oct 17
Stock Market Bulls Still in Charge - 9th Oct 17
DiEM25: Europe Without Nations or Religion - 9th Oct 17
Gold Price Readying to Rally - 8th Oct 17
Gold Price in Q3 2017 - 8th Oct 17
PassMark Bench Mark of OVERCLOCKERS UK Custom Built Gaming PC (5) - 8th Oct 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

3 Videos + 8 Charts = Opportunities You Need to See - Free

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

© 2005-2017 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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife