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... how it is affecting the overall economy. This is a great post, but I will admit it is pretty deep.. not casual reading. Matt Heaton might like it (agreeing or disagreeing... I think he will like the depth). Here are a few excerpts, but I would recommend visiting the post and reading it in its entirety:
I mean, why else would the Fed so aggressively and so suddenly attempt to stimulate the economy with excessive monetary ease and advocate swift and decisive government intervention with fiscal stimulus? Do you think they don't know the moral hazards of what they are doing? What is at stake here are the risks of another debt-deflation spiral like we had in the 1930's and therein lies their concerns. Even if they won't speak it, others are beginning to.
Consider this if you will: "In the fourth quarter of 2007, new foreclosures averaged 2,939 a day, double the pace of a year earlier. In the 1930s, lenders were seizing homes at an average rate of 3,000 a day, adjusted for today's housing stock size," according to RealtyTrac Inc.,
If the median home price declines anywhere near 25%, this could spell B-I-G T-R-O-U-B-L-E for the U.S. economy. "Keep in mind, says Merrill's Rosenberg, that the relatively puny price decline to date has already pushed home-loan delinquencies to their highest level in 20 years."
Laissez-Faire Economists of the 1930's Elaborating on the solutions attempted by the government and Federal Reserve during the 1930's Freidrich Hayek observed that, "To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which bought it about- because we are suffering from a misdirection, we want to create further misdirection....We must not forget that for the last six to eight years monetary policy all over the world has followed the advise of the 'stabilisers.' It is high time that their influence which has already done enough harm should be overthrown." - Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle circa 1933
A century before Von Mises, Ropke, and Hayek, there was John Stuart Mill, another laissez-faire proponent who held the opinion that "in all the more advanced communities, the majority of things are worse done by the intervention of government than the individuals most interested in the matter would do them, or cause them to be done, if left to themselves." - Principles of Political Economy, circa 1848
Modern Day Laissez-Faire Echoing Wilhelm Ropke of yesteryear is Pimco's Mark Kiesel who has recently been quoted as saying that "rescuing borrowers will only worsen the economic misery for everyone. Keeping the market from correcting itself only prolongs the problem....The housing market will find its own bottom, without a government bailout." Kiesel is suggesting that market forces today are akin to the debt-deflationary spiral of the 1930's and that they are simply far more powerful than any interventionists measures can hope to achieve.
"Because, Gross goes on to say, demand in the form of consumption has been artificially and fictitiously stimulated in recent years by financial engineering run amuck, there is a legitimate question as to whether its black hole imploding destructiveness can be totally countered with another dose of lower yields and deficit spending packages. The $150 billion "return to sender" deficit plan advanced by Bush and the Congress, for instance, amounts to just 1% of GDP and is of marginal benefit to long-term prosperity…
The U.S. needs a Krugman "demand-based" fiscal package alright, but a $300-$500 billion permanent one, because as the system of modern day levered shadow finance slows to a crawl or even contracts at the edges, its ability to systemically fertilize economic growth must be called into question. To provide a stable recovery path, government spending needs to fill the gap - not consumption. Public works programs, badly needed infrastructure repairs, as well as spending on research and development projects should form the heart of our path to recovery.
This is the comment I left:
Very interesting post. Admittedly, there is a good bit of it that is above my head since I am not in the world of finance to the same degree.
One thing did strike me though. One of the issues that we have seen increasing in the last decades is the increase of debt with decrease of savings. We are only consumers. This coupled with the unfriendly climate towards business has led to the US no longer being a destination for business, but just an important market... Offshoring of both profit and operations.
So, that leads me to wonder if something like the FairTax would strike the right balance. It would encourage individual savings (making a larger investment pool available) while encouraging business capital investment. It would also encourage a repatriation of both profits and operations since the corporations wouldn't have either taxes or the costs of determining taxes (and the costs of figuring it out isn't cheap).
I think that the FairTax bill, as written might actually spur the US economy to a large degree. Of course, generally when I see the plan criticized, it is modified and then the modifications are criticized (like the President's Advisory Panel on Taxation).
What do you think?
To really dive into would take more of a wonk than me... But, I liked the read, if not the details. I think this is well written and reasonably defended. Of course, it takes a high octane crystal ball to really know the right path, and I'm afraid that those are all to rare. Even the people that we look to for predictions can't agree on the direction, much less the amplitude of a solution.
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