by Lance Roberts, Streetalk Live
I have often spoken of the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. While asset prices are inflated by continued interventions of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, boosting Wall Street profits and widening the wealth gap between the top 20% of Americans and the rest, “Main Street” continues to suffer from a rising cost of living and falling wage growth. Just recently Gallup released the following survey:
“The federal poverty threshold for a family of four is just under $24,000; however, Americans believe such a family unit living in their community needs more than double that – $58,000, on average – just to ‘get by.’ That estimate reflects 29% of Americans saying these families need up to $50,000 in annual income, 47% saying they need between $50,000 and $99,999, and 10% saying they need $100,000 or more.”
Posted in Employment, Federal Reserve, GDP, Home Sales and Home Prices, Personal Income and Consumption, Prices - PPI, CPI and More, Retail & Business Sales, Trade Data, stock markets
Tagged consumer confidence, Economy, employment, Federal Reserve, GDP, housing, inflation, Lance Roberts, PPI, recession, recovery, unemployment
by Dirk Ehnts, Econoblog101
Martin Wolf had an article in the FT yesterday about the German growth model being applied to the whole euro zone. He notes that because of the flawed analysis that ‘government debt did it’ there is only one way left for demand to grow:
That leaves external adjustment. According to the IMF, France will be the only large eurozone member country to run a current account deficit this year. It forecasts that, by 2018, every current eurozone member, except Finland, will be a net capital exporter. The eurozone as a whole is forecast to run a current account surplus of 2.5 per cent of GDP. Such reliance on balancing via external demand is what one would expect of a Germanic eurozone.
Posted in Eurozone, GDP, macroeconomics
Tagged consumer confidence, Dirk Ehnts, Economy, exports, GDP, Germany, inflation, recession, recovery, trade balance
Written by Adam Whitehead, KeySignals.com
In Housing Smoke and Mirrors (4)[i] and (5),[ii] to confront the threat of the deteriorating bad mortgage vintages -
“the Federal Reserve and the Federal Government were observed to be running swiftly into the housing market.”
The latest data, on the HOPE NOW programme, has confirmed that the ratio of modifications to foreclosures was two-to-one in the first quarter of this year.[iii]
Housing Smoke and Mirrors (6)[iv] suggested that the governance rules of the GSEs were about to be changed, so that they could modify mortgage principle values. This would then allow them to securitize their “Zombie Home” mortgages into MBS, that could then be bought by the Fed.
by Nicholas Crafts
This article was originally published by Voxeu.org on May 12, 2013
The UK escaped a liquidity trap in the 1930s and enjoyed a strong economic recovery. This column argues that what drove this recovery was ‘unconventional’ monetary policy implemented not by the Bank of England but by the Treasury. Thus, Neville Chamberlain was an early proponent of ‘Abenomics’. This raises the question: is inflation targeting by an independent central bank appropriate at a time of very low nominal-interest rates?
In mid-1932, the UK had experienced a recession of a similar magnitude to that of 2008-09, was engaged in fiscal consolidation that reduced the structural budget deficit by about 4% of GDP, had short-term interest rates that were close to zero, and was in a double-dip recession (Crafts and Fearon 2013). The years from 1933 through 1936 saw a very strong recovery with growth of over 4% in every year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain (in office from November 1931 to May 1937) was the architect of this recovery. Given the similarities with the situation now facing George Osborne, is there anything he could learn from the policies adopted by his predecessor? Continue reading
Posted in Economics, Government, UK, macroeconomics, money
Tagged consumer confidence, Economy, GDP, home sales, housing, inflation, Nicholas Crafts, recession, recovery, trade balance, Voxeu
Written by Adam Whitehead, KeySignals.com
From Terminal Velocity (3) – “The Pyramid Scheme”[i]:
Reading between the lines, it is clear that the Fed intends to maintain a large balance sheet of assets for some time; even after interest rates have begun to normalize. The Fed will then use a rolling form of Operation Twist, across the Yield Curve and across asset classes, in order to target particular areas that it believes need influencing. The overall size of the balance sheet and its composition will then be managed, to achieve a background of benchmark interest rates for specific capital market sectors and the economy in general. This balance sheet management will involve increases and decreases in overall size, in addition to substitution of different assets and maturities. In this way, the Fed intends to anticipate and prevent bubbles or excessive tightness in liquidity from occurring.
It therefore looks as though the Fed will allow QE to roll off via expiry; and that it is quite prepared to provide specific monetary support to specific credit instruments, even as interest rates are rising in general. The intention and capability are to make the economic recovery sustainable during the rising rate environment.
Posted in Economics, Federal Reserve, macroeconomics, money, money and banking
Tagged Adam Whitehead, BEA, China, consumer confidence, Economy, Federal Reserve, GDP, inflation, recovery
by John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline
The evils of this deluge of paper money are not to be removed until our citizens are generally and radically instructed in their cause and consequences, and silence by their authority the interested clamors and sophistry of speculating, shaving, and banking institutions. Till then we must be content to return, quo ad hoc, to the savage state, to recur to barter in the exchange of our property, for want of a stable, common measure of value, that now in use being less fixed than the beads and wampum of the Indian, and to deliver up our citizens, their property and their labor, passive victims to the swindling tricks of bankers and mountebankers. ≈ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, 21 March 1819 Continue reading
Posted in Economics, Government, Japan, Trade Data, macroeconomics, money, money and banking, stock markets
Tagged consumer confidence, Economy, exports, GDP, industrial production, inflation, Japan, John Mauldin, recovery, trade balance
The Ideology to End Ideologies – A Response to Corey Robin on Nietzsche, Hayek, Mises, and Marginalism
by Philip Pilkington
This article was first published by Naked Capitalism (May 13, 2013)
Editor’s Note: Econintersect considers this a fundamentally important discussion of the philosophical underpinnings of 20th and 21st century economic thinking. It is contentious, to the point of being “in your face”, and is a far more complex subject than many would try to address in an essay of this length. However, the author has succeeded illustriously in his effort. The reader is encouraged to take the time to read this carefully and critically. We think it is well worth the effort.
The political philosopher Corey Robin recently published an interesting essay on what he thinks to be the connection between the late German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the economic theory of marginalism which Robin associates with the Austrian school (but which, of course, is also a mainstay of mainstream neoclassical economics). I should start by saying that I respect Robin’s work a great deal; I respect it to the extent that I did an interview with him for this very site when his last book appeared. However, his latest piece is grossly misguided and reflective of the fact that, when it comes to theoretical economics, academic critics on the left simply do not know their enemy at all. Continue reading
by Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner
The media exhibited much consternation today as economists’ consensus guess on first time unemployment claims turned out to be way too optimistic this week. That raised two questions in my mind. Was the number really that bad, and even if it was, does it matter?
The Labor Department reported that the seasonally adjusted (SA) representation of first time claims for unemployment rose by 32,000 to 360,000 from a revised 328,000 (was 323,000) in the advance report for the week ended May 11, 2013. The consensus estimate of economists of 330,000 for the SA headline number was too optimistic after 3 weeks of guesses that were too pessimistic. Call it “evening things up.” They were wrong one way 3 times in a row, so they overcompensated the other way this week. It’s a ridiculous game, but everybody plays anyway. Forecasters are virtually always wrong, not just because economic forecasting is quackery, but also because the seasonally adjusted number, being made-up, is impossible to consistently guess (see endnote). Continue reading
Tanju Yorulmazer, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
One of the most interesting phenomena marking the recent financial crisis was the disruptions in the interbank market, where banks borrow and lend reserves to each other. This post draws upon my paper with Douglas Gale, “Liquidity Hoarding,” to discuss this practice by banks during times of increased uncertainty about future liquidity needs and its consequences for the efficient transfer of liquidity in the interbank market.