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Category Archives: Quantitative Easing

Promises, Promises


What Can't Be Paid, Won't be Paid [courtesy Google Images]

What Can’t Be Paid,
Won’t be Paid
[courtesy Google Images]

Last month (July), AFP published an article entitled “Japan PM unveils $266 bn stimulus plan to boost economy”. According to that article,

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Japan’s government and central bank have come under increasing pressure to do more for the economy.

“Therefore, [in July] Japan’s government announced a stimulus package worth more than 28 trillion yen ($266 billion) in its latest attempt to fire up the lukewarm economy . . . .”

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By itself, $266 billion in government stimulus doesn’t strike me as significant. Back around 2008-2009, the U.S. government injected $800 billion into the U.S. economy under QE1. Later, under QE3, the government injected $80 billion per month (almost $1 trillion per year) into the economy. These injections may have postponed a U.S. economic depression, but they didn’t generate much of an economic recovery.

Given that Japan is the world’s third largest economy, I don’t expect $266 billion (just one-third of the $800 billion injected during the U.S. QE1) to have much more effect on Japan’s economy than QE1 had on the U.S. economy.

This implies that Prime Minister Abe’s proposed “stimulus package” is more of a gesture to “do something” rather than a real economic remedy for the stagnating Japanese economy.

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“Helicopter Money”


Helicopter Money [courtesy Google Images]

Helicopter Money
[courtesy Google Images]

Control of the economy is based on two sets of powers:

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1) The Federal Reserve wields the monetary powers which include control over interest rate and over the supply of currency.

2) The U.S. government wields the fiscal powers which include raising or lowering taxes, raising or lowering borrowing, and increasing or decreasing government spending on benefits, subsidies and wars.

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For the past year, we’ve heard the Federal Reserve say repeatedly that:

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1) The Federal Reserve has exhausted its monetary powers and is no longer capable of using previous, “conventional” monetary strategies like QE (Quantitative Easing; printing and injecting more currency into the economy) and ZIRP (near-Zero Interest Rate Policy) to stimulate the economy back to a “recovery”.

I believe the Federal Reserve’s claims that it’s currently helpless to do much more to “stimulate” the economy with monetary policy are true.

If the Fed’s not fibbing, then only the U.S. government remains to engineer an economic “recovery” by means of its fiscal policy. However,

2) The U.S. government is unwilling or unable use its fiscal powers to raise taxes and/or borrow more currency to provide enough additional “stimulation” to cause an economic recovery.

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Armed Debt Collectors = Government Desperation


Government Debt Collectors [courtesy Google Images]

Student Loan Debt Collectors
[courtesy Google Images]

In last week’s article, Placebo Economics, I compared the Federal Reserve’s primary strategies (Quantitative Easing and Zero Interest Rate Policy) for dealing with the recession to medical “placebos”.  I.e., they had little or no fundamental effect in themselves, but might still be useful so long as the public believed in them.

I wrote in part:

 

“ZIRP [Zero Interest Rate Policy] and QE [Quantitative Easing] have failed in Japan, the EU and US because the [people] no longer believe in the efficacy of those economic “placebos” or the wisdom of our “witch doctors” in the Federal Reserve and/or federal government.

“Once we stop believing in the ‘witch doctors’ at the Federal Reserve, how will the Fed ever restore our belief and confidence in their economic placebos?  Once we know that our witch doctors have nothing real (like gold- or silver-based money) to offer us and can only provide intrinsically-worthless placebos (fiat dollars; promises to pay rather than actual payments), the economy will not be healed by mumbo-jumbo and our economic witch doctors may be run out of town on rails.

“If the previous conjecture is roughly correct, the way back to prosperity will not be achieved by means of more placebos.  It will be achieved only by means of hard work and the “real medicine” of physical gold and silver.”

I was mistaken.  There is another possible “way” back to prosperity besides by means of hard work, gold and silver.  I don’t think this alternative “way” will work.  But the temptation to try it will be almost irresistible.  I have little doubt that that “way” will be tried by the Federal Reserve and/or the federal government.

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Germany’s Finance Minister: “the debt-financed growth model had reached its limits”!


G20 Shanghai "Don't Blame Us!" [courtesy Google Images]

G20 Shanghai
“Don’t Blame Us!”
[courtesy Google Images]

Reuters (“G20 to say world needs to look beyond ultra-easy policy for growth”):

 

“The world’s top economies declared on Saturday that they need to look beyond ultra-low interest rates and printing money to shake the global economy out of its torpor, while renewing their focus on structural reform to spark activity.”

 

Telling the world to “look beyond ultra-low interest rates and printing money,” is central bankers’ code for:

1)  QE (Quantitative Easing) and ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policies) don’t work; and, therefore,

2)  Don’t expect much more QE of ZIRP in the future.

Without more QE and ZIRP, there’ll be less artificial support for stock markets and market indices can be expected to fall sharply.

The banker’s comments may even signal that there won’t be as much market manipulation as we’ve had in the past.  If so, the prices of gold and silver should rise.

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World’s Savior: “Helicopter Money”?


Helicopter Money: Modern Manna? [courtesy Google Images]

Helicopter Money: Modern Manna?
[courtesy Google Images]

We live in times that are not merely “interesting” but spectacularly so.

According to Zero Hedge.com (“Helicopter Money Arrives: Switzerland To Hand Out $2500 Monthly To All Citizens”),

 

Citi Bank’s chief economist has recently proclaimed that, ‘only helicopter money can save the world now’.

The Finns are considering a ‘basic monthly income’ for the entire population.

“And soon, Swiss residents are to vote on a countrywide referendum about a radical plan to pay every single adult a guaranteed income of around $2500 per month, with authorities insisting that people will still want to find a job. . . .  Under the proposed initiative . . . each child would also receive 625 francs ($750) a month.”

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Michael Pento on Greg Hunter


Pento is too good.  Reminds me of Robert De NIro in the movie Raging Bull.

He knows his stuff.  He’s expecting a big step downward in the economy circa March.

video    00:25:37

 

 

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A “real” economy vs. an “unreal”?


Market Manipulation by the Federal Reserve [courtesy Google Images]

Market Manipulation by the Federal Reserve
[courtesy Google Images]

Richard Fisher was the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from A.D. 2005 to A.D. 2015 . He’s now a director of PepsiCo and ATT, a senior advisor to Barclays, and a CNBC contributor. The man is accomplished and “connected”.  We he talks, we’d do well to listen closely.

In reaction to the dramatic stock market sell-off during the first week of A.D. 2016, Mr. Fisher “talked” in a recent article entitled “Don’t blame China for the sell-off”:

 

•  Fisher:

 

“Recent volatility and downside slippage in the equity markets has been ascribed to China and the potential for slowing global economic growth. To be sure, these are factors worth watching but they are hardly newsworthy.

“While I would not completely pooh-pooh the effect of developments in China on the rest of the global economy, I believe another factor is of greater importance in pricing the U.S. stock market going forward: the effect of accommodative Federal Reserve policy.”

 

Mr. Fisher is telling us that, contrary to popular opinion, the recent US stock market fall was not triggered by China’s economic problems—it was caused by Federal Reserve policies.

Few would be surprised by Mr. Fisher’s statement.  We all pretty much suspect that the Fed is responsible for the current economic problems.  Still, given that a former president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank is making these admissions, they are amazing.

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