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Endgame for the Fed? – Article by Ron Paul

Endgame for the Fed? – Article by Ron Paul


Ron Paul
September 25, 2019
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The Federal Reserve , responding to concerns about the economy and the stock market, and perhaps to criticisms by President Trump, recently changed the course of interest rates by cutting it’s “benchmark” rate from 2.25 percent to two percent. President Trump responded to the cut in already historically-low rates by attacking the Fed for not committing to future rate cuts.

The Fed’s action is an example of a popular definition of insanity: doing the same action over and over again and expecting different results. After the 2008 market meltdown, the Fed launched an unprecedented policy of near-zero interest rates and “quantitative easing.” Both failed to produce real economic growth. The latest rate cut is unlikely to increase growth or avert a major economic crisis.

It is not a coincidence that the Fed’s rate cut came along with Congress passing a two-year budget deal that increases our already 22 trillion dollars national debt and suspends the debt ceiling. The increase in government debt increases the pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates artificially low so the federal government’s interest payments do not increase to unsustainable levels.President Trump’s tax and regulatory policies have had some positive effects on economic growth and job creation. However, these gains are going to be short-lived because they cannot offset the damage caused by the explosion in deficit spending and the Federal Reserve’s resulting monetization of the debt. President Trump has also endangered the global economy by imposing tariffs on imports from the US’s largest trading partners including China. This has resulted in a trade war that is hurting export-driven industries such as agriculture.

President Trump recently imposed more tariffs on Chinese imports, and China responded to the tariffs by devaluing its currency. The devaluation lowers the price consumers pay for Chinese goods, partly offsetting the effect of the tariffs. The US government responded by labeling China a currency manipulator, a charge dripping with hypocrisy since, thanks to the dollar’s world reserve currency status, the US is history’s greatest currency manipulator. Another irony is that China’s action mirrors President Trump’s continuous calls for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.

While no one can predict when or how the next economic crisis will occur, we do know the crisis is coming unless, as seems unlikely, the Fed stops distorting the economy by manipulating interest rates (which are the price of money), Congress cuts spending and debt, and President Trump declares a ceasefire in the trade war.

The Federal Reserve’s rate cut failed to stop a drastic fall in the stock market. This is actually good news as it shows that even Wall Street is losing faith in the Federal Reserve’s ability to manage the unmanageable — a monetary system based solely on fiat currency. The erosion of trust in and respect for the Fed is also shown by the interest in cryptocurrency and the momentum behind two initiatives spearheaded by my Campaign for Liberty — passing the Audit the Fed bill and passing state laws re-legalizing gold and silver as legal tender. There is no doubt we are witnessing the last days of not just the Federal Reserve but the entire welfare-warfare system. Those who know the truth must do all they can to ensure that the crisis results in a return to a constitutional republic, true free markets, sound money, and a foreign policy of peace and free trade.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

 

5 of the Worst Economic Predictions in History – Article by Luis Pablo de la Horra

5 of the Worst Economic Predictions in History – Article by Luis Pablo de la Horra

Luis Pablo de la Horra
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Uncertainty makes human beings uncomfortable. Not knowing what’s going to happen in the future creates a sense of unrest in many people. That’s why we sometimes draw on predictions made by leading experts in their respective fields to make decisions in our daily lives. Unfortunately, history has shown that experts aren’t often much better than the average person when it comes to forecasting the future. And economists aren’t an exception. Here are five economic predictions that never came true.

1. Irving Fisher Predicting a Stock-Market Boom—Right Before the Crash of 1929

Irving Fisher was one of the great economists of the first half of twentieth century. His contributions to economic science are varied: the relationship between inflation and interest rates, the use of price indexes or the restatement of the quantity theory of money are some of them. Yet he is sometimes remembered by an unfortunate statement he made in the days prior to the Crash of 1929. Fisher said that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau (…) I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.” A few days later, the stock market crashed with devastating consequences.  After all, even geniuses aren’t exempt from making mistakes.

2. Paul Ehrlich on the Looming ‘Population Bomb’

In 1968, biologist Paul Ehrlich published a book where he argued that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the following decades as a result of overpopulation. He went as far as far as to say that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over (…) nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Of course, Ehrlich’s predictions never came true. Since the publication of the book, the death rate has moved from 12.44 permille in 1968 to 7.65 permille in 2016, and undernourishment has declined dramatically even though the population has doubled since 1950. Seldom in history has someone been so wrong about the future of humankind.

3. The 1990s Great Depression that Never Happened

Economist Ravi Batra reached the number one on The New York Time Best Seller List in 1987 thanks to his book The Great Depression of 1990. From the title, one can easily infer what was the main thesis of the book, namely: An economic crisis is imminent, and it will be a tough one. Fortunately, his prediction failed to come true. In fact, the 1990s was a period of relative stability and strong economic growth, with the US stock market growing at an 18 percent annualized rate. Not so bad for an economic depression, right?

4. Alan Greenspan on Interest Rates

In September 2007, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan released a memoir called The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New WorldIn the book, he claimed that the economy was heading towards two-digit interest rates due to expected inflationary pressures. According to Greenspan, the Fed would be compelled to drastically raise its target interest rate to fulfill the 2-percent inflation mandate. One year later, the Fed Funds rate was at historical lows, reaching the zero-lower bound shortly after.

5. Peter Schiff and the End of the World

Financial commentator Peter Schiff became famous in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis for having foreseen the housing crash back in 2006 (even a broken clock is right twice a day). Since then, he has been predicting economic catastrophes every other day, with very limited success. There are many examples of failed predictions from which to draw upon. For instance, in a 2010 video (see below), Schiff foretold that Quantitative Easing (the unconventional monetary policy undertaken by the Fed between 2008 and 2014) would result in hyperinflation and the eventual destruction of the Dollar. Unfortunately for Schiff, the average inflation rate per year since the onset of QE has been 1.68%, slightly below the 2% target of the Fed.

 

Luis Pablo is a PhD Candidate in Economics at the University of Valladolid. He has been published by several media outlets, including The American Conservative, CapX and the Foundation for Economic Education, among others.

This article was originally published on Intellectual Takeout.

We’re Going Deeper into Debt as Real Incomes Fall – Article by Victor Xing

We’re Going Deeper into Debt as Real Incomes Fall – Article by Victor Xing

The New Renaissance HatVictor Xing

New York Fed President Dudley recently commented that “real consumer spending growth appears to have moderated somewhat from the relatively robust pace of the second half of 2015.” While this may suggest headwinds from cyclical economic conditions, there are emerging signs that ultra-accommodative policy also acts as a constraint on consumer spending via income effects. Instead of inducing savers to spend and borrow, rapid asset price appreciation as a result of monetary easing has outpaced wage growth, and pass-through services inflation subsequently reduced discretionary income and forced already-levered consumers to save instead of spend. This unintended consequence worked against accommodative policy’s desired substitution effects and suggests further easing would likely yield diminishing results if asset price appreciation continues to outpace real income growth.

Asset Price and Services Inflation Outpaced Real Wage Growth
Post-2008 policy accommodation broadly lowered funding costs for consumers and businesses to supported asset price appreciation. However, rising prices have also made assets less affordable, and home buyers “priced out” of their respective housing markets subsequently became involuntary renters. Not only do they not benefit from rising home values, higher education, and medical care inflation also outpaced aggregate real wage growth (Chart 1) to weigh on renters’ discretionary spending.

xing1In response with rising commercial real estate prices (Chart 2), businesses also pass on higher operating costs in the form of services inflation. Year-over-year personal consumption expenditure — services (chain-type price index) has been well-anchored in the 2% range (2.13% in Feb 2016) since 4Q 2011.

xing2Another factor constraining consumer spending is the well-publicized effect of student debt burden. This supports a view that household spending may be at a lower potential than during prior cycles, thus magnifying the costs of higher services inflation as a result of asset price appreciation.

Consumers Redlining their Engines: Inability To Pay $400 Emergency Expense
Accommodative monetary policy encourages consumers to spend and borrow rather than hoarding cash. However, cash-strapped consumers already facing the pressure of debt burden would likely do neither.

Federal Reserve’s recent Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households highlighted signs that some consumers are already stretching their spending power to meet existing obligations. 47% of respondents reported that a $400 emergency expense would be “more challenging to handle” (unable to use cash or a credit card that they pay off at the end of the mouth). Results from middle-income household with $40,000 to $100,000 annual income were similarly downbeat, where 44% of respondents indicated difficulties (Chart 3).

Chart 3: Percent of respondents who would completely pay an emergency expense that costs $400 using cash or a credit card that they pay off at the end of the month (by race/ethnicity and household income)

xing3Source: Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Chart 4: During the past 12 months, was there a time when you needed any of the following, but didn’t get it because you couldn’t afford it?

xing4Source: Federal Reserve Board of Governors

A survey on health-care expenses was also discouraging. 31% of respondents reported going without some type of medical care in the preceding 12 months due to inability to afford the cost. 45% of those surveyed under a household income of $40,000 reported similar decisions to defer treatment.

In the section “spending relative to income,” Fed researchers reported that one-in-five respondents with spending exceeded their income (leveraged spending). These are signs that consumers were taking advantage of lower rates, but the spending does not appear to be sustainable without corresponding rise in real wage growth.

Rising Renter Cost Burden
Another factor constraining discretionary spending is rising renter cost burden. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies projected a “fairly bleak picture of severe renter burden across the U.S. for the coming decade.” The report acknowledged falling incomes among renters and the persisting gap between renter income and renter housing costs (Chart 6), as well as severely burdened renter households (housing costs of more than 50% of household income) reaching 11.8 million in 2015 (Chart 7), or about one in four renters.

Assuming the correlation between rental price inflation and asset price inflation holds, further declines in housing affordability as a result of policy easing would exacerbate renter burden — one likely needs rising real wages to offset.

Chart 5: In the past 12 months, would you say that your household’s total spending was more, less, or the same as your income? (by household income)

xing5Source: Federal Reserve Board of Governors

xing6xing7

Impacts of “Long and Variable Lags” Between Asset Price Inflation and Real Wage Growth
Financial market participants play an essential role in the transmission of Federal Reserve’s monetary policy by affecting financial conditions — the following components are part of the GS Financial Conditions Index:

  • Short-term bond yield
  • Long-term corporate credit spread
  • Stock market variable
  • Exchange rate

The Federal Reserve only has effective control of the very front-end of the Treasury curve via conventional monetary policy. Nevertheless, unconventional policies such as QE, as well as forward guidance on SOMA principal reinvestments also allow the central bank to affect longer-term funding costs via the expectations and “recruitment channel.” Under this mechanism, asset prices take little time to react to changing policy stances, while impacts on income growth and economic conditions would often take longer to manifest.

Such lag between asset price appreciation and changing economic conditions carries a hidden cost — if asset price inflation becomes well entrenched ahead of broad-based economic growth, those without assets would be penalized just to maintain their life-style, and the reduction in their discretionary spending would serve as a disinflationary drag to Federal Reserve’s effort to reflate the economy.

Conclusion
Inefficiencies within the monetary policy transmission mechanism have resulted in income effects becoming greater than the substitution effects. Under this scenario, ultra-accommodative policy may induce further saving by asset-less consumers to further weigh on aggregate demand. Additionally, policymakers should exercise caution if increasingly aggressive and unconventional reflationary policies do not yield intended results.

Victor Xing is founder and investment analyst at Kekselias, Inc. He is formerly a fixed-income trading analyst for the Capital Group Companies with 5 years of experience on its interest rates trading desk.

This article was published on Mises.org and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution United States License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

What Markets Are Telling Us – Article by Ron Paul

What Markets Are Telling Us – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
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Last week US stock markets tumbled yet again, leaving the Dow Jones index down almost 1500 points for the year. In fact, most major world markets are in negative territory this year. There are many Wall Street cheerleaders who are trying to say that this is just a technical correction, that the bottom is near, and that everything will be getting better soon. They are ignoring the real message the markets are trying to send: you cannot print your way to prosperity.

People throughout history have always sought to acquire wealth. Most of them understand that it takes hard work, sacrifice, savings, and investment. But many are always looking for that “get rich quick” scheme. Monetary cranks throughout history have thought that just printing more money would result in greater wealth and prosperity. Every time this was tried it resulted in failure. Huge economic booms would be followed by even larger busts. But no matter how many times the cranks were debunked both in theory and practice, the same failed ideas kept coming back.

The intellectual descendants of those monetary cranks are now leading the world’s central banks, which is why the last decade has seen an explosion of money creation. And what do the central bankers have to show for it? Lackluster employment numbers that have not kept up with population growth, increasing economic inequality, a rising cost of living, and constant fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.

The past decade has been a lot like the 1920s, when prices would have dropped without intervention, but the Federal Reserve kept the price level steady through injections of easy money into the economy. The result in the 1920s was the Great Depression. But in the 1920s prices were dropping because of increased production. More goods being produced meant lower prices, which the Fed then tried to prop up by printing money. Unlike the “Roaring 20s” however, the economy isn’t quite as strong today. It’s more of a gasp than a roar.

Production today is barely above 2007 levels, while heavily-indebted households already hurt during the financial crisis don’t want to keep spending. The bad debts and mal-investments from the last Federal Reserve-induced boom were never liquidated, they were merely papered over with more easy money. The underlying economic fundamentals remain weak but the monetary cranks who run the Fed keep trying to pump more and more money into the system. They fail to realize that easy money is the cause, not the cure, of recessions and depressions. They didn’t realize that prices needed to drop in order to clear all the bad debt and mal-investments out of the system. Because they don’t realize that, we are on the verge of yet another financial crisis.

Don’t be confused by any stock market rallies over the next few months and think that the worst is over. Remember that after Black Tuesday in 1929 the Dow Jones rallied over the next year before it began slowly and steadily to sink again. The central bankers will do everything they can to delay the inevitable. If they had allowed housing prices to fall in 2008 and hadn’t bailed out the big Wall Street banks, the economy would have corrected itself. Yes, it would have been a severe correction, but it would have been nothing compared to the inevitable correction that will present itself when the Fed runs out of easy money options. The Fed may try to cut interest rates again, maybe even going negative, or it will do more quantitative easing, but that won’t work. Creating more money does not lead to economic growth and well-being. The more money the Federal Reserve creates, the more ordinary Americans will end up suffering.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

3 Stock-Market Tips from an Economist – Article by Robert P. Murphy

3 Stock-Market Tips from an Economist – Article by Robert P. Murphy

The New Renaissance Hat
Robert P. Murphy
September 11, 2015
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Recent volatility has Americans talking about the stock market — and getting a lot of things wrong in the process. Let’s discuss some general principles to help clear things up.

(Let me say up front that I won’t be disclosing which stocks are going to go up next month. Even if I knew, it would ruin my advantage to tell everybody.)

1. Money doesn’t go “into” or “out of” the stock market in the way most people think.

On NPR’s Marketplace, after the recent big selloff, host Kai Ryssdal said, “That money has to go somewhere, right?”

This language is misleading. Let me illustrate with a simple example.

Suppose there are 100 people who each own 1,000 shares of ABC stock. Currently, ABC has a share price of $5. Thus, the community collectively owns $500,000 worth of ABC stock. Further, suppose that each person has $200 in a checking account at the local bank. Thus, the community owns $20,000 worth of checking account balances at the bank.

Now, Alice decides she wants to increase her holdings of cash and reduce her holdings of ABC stock. So she sells a single share to Bob, who buys it for $4. There is no other market action.

In this scenario, when the share price drops from $5 to $4, the community suddenly owns only $400,000 worth of ABC stock. And yet, there is no flow of $100,000 someplace else — certainly not into the local bank. It still has exactly $20,000 in various checking accounts. All that happened is Alice’s account went up by $4 while Bob’s went down by $4.

2. Simple strategies can’t be guaranteed to make money.

Suppose your brother-in-law says: “I’ve got a great stock tip! I found this company, Acme, that makes fireworks. Let’s wait until the end of June, and then load up on as many shares as we can. Once the company reports its sales for July, we’ll make a fortune because of the holiday numbers.”

Clearly, your brother-in-law would be speaking foolishness. Just about everybody knows that fireworks companies do a lot of business around July 4, and so the price of Acme stock in late June would already reflect that obvious information.

More generally, the different versions of the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) claim — with varying degrees of strength — that an investor can’t “beat the market” without access to private information. The reason is that any publicly available information is already incorporated into the current stock price.

Not all economists agree with the EMH, especially the stronger versions of it. If two investors have different theories of how the economy works, then to them, the same “information” regarding Federal Reserve intentions may imply different forecasts, leading one to feel bullish while the other is bearish. Yet, even this discussion shows that it can’t be obvious that a stock price will move in a certain direction. If it were, then the first traders to notice the mispricing would pounce, arbitraging the discrepancy into oblivion.

3. An investor’s “track record” can be misleading because of risk and luck.

Suppose hedge fund A earns 10 percent three years in a row, while hedge fund Bearns only 4 percent those same three years in a row. Can we conclude that fundA’s management is more competent?

No, not unless we get more information. It could be that fund A is highly leveraged (meaning that it borrowed money and used it to buy assets), while fund B invests only the owners’ equity. Even if A and B have the same portfolios, A will outperform so long as the portfolio has a positive return.

However, in this scenario, fund A has taken on more risk. If the assets in the portfolio happen to go down in market value, then fund A loses a bigger proportion of its capital than fund B.

More generally, a fund manager could have a great year simply because of (what we consider to be) dumb luck. For example, suppose there are 500 different fund managers, and each picks a single stock from the S&P 500 to exclude from their portfolio; they own appropriately weighted amounts of the remaining 499 stocks. Further, suppose that each manager picks his pariah company by throwing a dart at the stock listing taped to his conference room wall.

If the dart throws are random over the possible stocks, then we expect one manager to exclude the worst-performing stock, another to exclude the second worst-performing stock, and so on. In any event, we can be very confident that of the 500 fund managers, at least many dozens of them will beat the S&P 500 with their own truncated version of it, and the same number will underperform it.

Would we conclude that the managers with excess returns were more skilled at analyzing companies, or had better money-management protocols in place at their firms? Of course not. In this example, they just got lucky. What relevance our hypothetical scenario has for the real world of investments is not as clear, but the tale at least demonstrates that past performance alone does not necessarily indicate skill or predict future performance.

Studying economics won’t show you how to become rich, but it will spare you from making a fool of yourself at the next cocktail party.

Robert P. Murphy has a PhD in economics from NYU. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Great Depression and the New Deal, and  Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015).

This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Blame the Federal Reserve, Not China, for Stock-Market Crash – Article by Ron Paul

Blame the Federal Reserve, Not China, for Stock-Market Crash – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
September 6, 2015
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Following the historic stock-market downturn two weeks ago, many politicians and so-called economic experts rushed to the microphones to explain why the market crashed and to propose “solutions” to our economic woes. Not surprisingly, most of those commenting not only failed to give the right answers, they failed to ask the right questions.

Many blamed the crash on China’s recent currency devaluation. It is true that the crash was caused by a flawed monetary policy. However, the fault lies not with China’s central bank but with the US Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies distort the economy, creating bubbles, which in turn create a booming stock market and the illusion of widespread prosperity. Inevitably, the bubble bursts, the market crashes, and the economy sinks into a recession.

An increasing number of politicians have acknowledged the flaws in our monetary system. Unfortunately, some members of Congress think the solution is to force the Fed to follow a “rules-based” monetary policy. Forcing the Fed to “follow a rule” does not change the fact that giving a secretive central bank the power to set interest rates is a recipe for economic chaos. Interest rates are the price of money, and, like all prices, they should be set by the market, not by a central bank and certainly not by Congress.

Instead of trying to “fix” the Federal Reserve, Congress should start restoring a free-market monetary system. The first step is to pass the Audit the Fed legislation so the people can finally learn the full truth about the Fed. Congress should also pass legislation ensuring individuals can use alternative currencies free of federal-government harassment.

When bubbles burst and recessions hit, Congress and the Federal Reserve should refrain from trying to “stimulate” the economy via increased spending, corporate bailouts, and inflation. The only way the economy will ever fully recover is if Congress and the Fed allow the recession to run its course.

Of course, Congress and the Fed are unlikely to “just stand there” if the economy further deteriorates. There have already been reports that the Fed will use last week’s crash as an excuse to once again delay raising interest rates. Increased spending and money creation may temporally boost the economy, but eventually they will lead to a collapse in the dollar’s value and an economic crisis more severe than the Great Depression.

Ironically, considering how popular China-bashing has become, China’s large purchase of US Treasury notes has helped the US postpone the day of reckoning. The main reason countries like China are eager to help finance our debt is the dollar’s world reserve currency status. However, there are signs that concerns over the US government’s fiscal irresponsibility and resentment of our foreign policy will cause another currency (or currencies) to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency. If this occurs, the US will face a major dollar crisis.

Congress will not adopt sensible economic policies until the people demand it. Unfortunately, while an ever-increasing number of Americans are embracing Austrian economics, too many Americans still believe they must sacrifice their liberties in order to obtain economic and personal security. This is why many are embracing a charismatic crony capitalist who is peddling a snake oil composed of protectionism, nationalism, and authoritarianism.

Eventually the United States will have to abandon the warfare state, the welfare state, and the fiat money system that fuels leviathan’s growth. Hopefully the change will happen because the ideas of liberty have triumphed, not because a major economic crisis leaves the US government with no other choice.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Janet Yellen’s Christmas Gift to Wall Street – Article by Ron Paul

Janet Yellen’s Christmas Gift to Wall Street – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
December 21, 2014
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Last week we learned that the key to a strong economy is not increased production, lower unemployment, or a sound monetary unit. Rather, economic prosperity depends on the type of language used by the central bank in its monetary policy statements. All it took was one word in the Federal Reserve Bank’s press release — that the Fed would be “patient” in raising interest rates to normal levels — and stock markets went wild. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had their best gains in years, with the Dow gaining nearly 800 points from Wednesday to Friday and the S&P gaining almost 100 points to close within a few points of its all-time high.

Just think of how many trillions of dollars of financial activity that occurred solely because of that one new phrase in the Fed’s statement. That so much in our economy hangs on one word uttered by one institution demonstrates not only that far too much power is given to the Federal Reserve, but also how unbalanced the American economy really is.

While the real economy continues to sputter, financial markets reach record highs, thanks in no small part to the Fed’s easy money policies. After six years of zero interest rates, Wall Street has become addicted to easy money. Even the slightest mention of tightening monetary policy, and Wall Street reacts like a heroin addict forced to sober up cold turkey.

While much of the media paid attention to how long interest rates would remain at zero, what they largely ignored is that the Fed is, “maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities.” Look at the Fed’s balance sheet and you’ll see that it has purchased $25 billion in mortgage-backed securities since the end of QE3. Annualized, that is $200 billion a year. That may not be as large as QE2 or QE3, but quantitative easing, or as the Fed likes to say “accommodative monetary policy” is far from over.

What gets lost in all the reporting about stock market numbers, unemployment rate figures, and other economic data is the understanding that real wealth results from production of real goods, not from the creation of money out of thin air. The Fed can rig the numbers for a while by turning the monetary spigot on full blast, but the reality is that this is only papering over severe economic problems. Six years after the crisis of 2008, the economy still has not fully recovered, and in many respects is not much better than it was at the turn of the century.

Since 2001, the United States has grown by 38 million people and the working-age population has grown by 23 million people. Yet the economy has only added eight million jobs. Millions of Americans are still unemployed or underemployed, living from paycheck to paycheck, and having to rely on food stamps and other government aid. The Fed’s easy money has produced great profits for Wall Street but it has not helped — and cannot help — Main Street.

An economy that holds its breath every six weeks, looking to parse every single word coming out of Fed Chairman Janet Yellen’s mouth for indications of whether to buy or sell, is an economy that is fundamentally unsound. The Fed needs to stop creating trillions of dollars out of thin air, let Wall Street take its medicine, and allow the corrections that should have taken place in 2001 and 2008 to liquidate the bad debts and malinvestments that permeate the economy. Only then will we see a real economic recovery.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Federal Reserve Blows More Bubbles – Article by Ron Paul

Federal Reserve Blows More Bubbles – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
May 5, 2013
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Last week at its regular policy-setting meeting, the Federal Reserve announced it would double down on the policies that have failed to produce anything but a stagnant economy. It was a disappointing, but not surprising, move.

The Fed affirmed that it is prepared to increase its monthly purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities if things don’t start looking up. But actually the Fed has already been buying more than the announced $85 billion per month. Between February and March, the Fed’s securities holdings increased $95 billion. From March to April, they increased $100 billion. In all, the Fed has pumped more than a half trillion dollars into the economy since announcing its latest round of “quantitative easing” (QE3) in September 2012.

Although many were up in arms when the Fed said it would buy $600 billion in government debt outright for the previous round, QE2, all seems quiet about the magnitude of QE3 because it doesn’t come with huge up-front total price tag. But by year’s end the Fed’s balance sheet could hit $4 trillion.

With no recovery in sight, where’s all this money going? It is creating bubbles. Bubbles in the housing sector, the stock market, and government debt. The national debt is fast approaching $17 trillion, with the Fed monetizing most of the newly issued debt. The stock market has been hitting record highs for the past two months as investors seek to capitalize on the Fed’s easy money. After all, as long as the Fed keeps the spigot open, nominal profits are there for the taking. But this is a house of cards. Eventually, just like in 2008-2009, the market will discipline the bad actions of the Fed and seek to find the real normal.

In the meantime, real families are suffering. While Wall Street and the federal government take advantage of access to the Fed’s new “free” money, the Fed claims there is no inflation. But who hasn’t paid higher prices at the grocery store, the gas pump, for tuition, for insurance? It’s bad enough that household incomes have stagnated, but real purchasing power has declined so much that one in seven Americans, 47.3 million people, are on food stamps. Five million are collecting unemployment insurance with 21.5 million afflicted by unemployment according to the federal government’s own figures. That’s 13.9 percent — close to double the 7.5 percent unemployment number reported last week.

We are certainly not in a recovery. We don’t see the long unemployment and soup-kitchen lines like in the Great Depression, but that’s just because the lines are electronic now.

It is not surprising the Fed has decided to hand the American people more of the same failed policies. But it is disappointing. We know what the real solution is: allow the marketplace to work. Allow entrepreneurs the chance to create instead of stifling innovation with arbitrary regulations. Allow interest rates to rise to equal the risks in the economy. Allow bad debts to be liquidated so we can build on a firm foundation. Stop printing money to benefit the government and big banks. Restore sound money to the economy and the American people. Sound money is the bedrock for prosperity and the best check on big government and crony capitalism.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission.