Tag Archives: fed

Ron Paul – The Fed Twists, The Market Shouts

ron paul

Last week the Federal Reserve began the second incarnation of “Operation Twist”, an attempt to drive down interest rates by purchasing long-term Treasury debt and selling short-term debt. This is just the latest instance of the central bank desperately flailing around doing something merely for the sake of doing something. Fed officials still do not understand– or admit– that the Fed itself caused the financial crisis by driving interest rates too low and relentlessly expanding the money supply. Thus, this latest action will just exacerbate the problem.

Markets, however, understand that the Fed has failed and has no clue what it is doing. This is why markets went into a tailspin after the Fed’s new strategy was announced. Stock, bonds, and commodities dropped in price while the financial press wondered whether this worldwide sell-off meant that the entire system was collapsing. Not since 2008 had there been such a dramatic drop across so many different sectors of the market.

Because of continued rising inflation and the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates, investing in traditional safe havens such as savings accounts, mutual funds, and Treasury bonds has become unprofitable. Lots of money is moving through the system seeking a return on investments or at least some measure of safety, as increasingly desperate investors move their funds around in search of long-term profits and stability. Until the Fed stops its monetary intervention and allows interest rates to be set by the free market, investors will move their money in a volatile manner. They will invest in commodities and stocks while prices swing upwards, but will flee to bonds and cash at the first sign of a downturn.

The uncertainty caused by the Fed does help some people – professional traders on Wall Street for example. Increased volatility and huge price swings mean more opportunities for profit, as sophisticated electronic trading programs can buy and sell huge positions within a fraction of a second of a major market movement. But small businessmen are misled by the artificially low interest rates into making unwise investments, and those whose jobs vanish when the Federal Reserve’s latest bubble pops suffer. Without the knowledge or ability to move with the markets or diversify overseas, average Americans see their savings stagnate or depreciate– along with their hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow.

The only way to return to a sound economy is for the Federal Reserve to cease and desist its monetary manipulation and allow interest rates to be determined by markets, just as the price of goods, services, and labor should be determined by markets. Everything the Fed is doing by pumping money into the economy benefits only the insolvent, too-big-to-fail banks. Low interest rates encourage consumers to take on more debt, meaning more profits for the banks issuing those loans. Purchasing mortgage-backed securities, as the Fed has done, keeps housing prices inflated, helping the banks who have non-performing mortgages on their books. However, it hurts consumers who continue to be priced out of the housing market. In order to maintain a decent standard of living for the American people and to restore the vibrancy of the U.S. economy, it is time to end the Fed.

Ron Paul

The Fed Undermines Foreign Policy

ron paul

By: Dr. Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman

Last week I was both surprised and pleased when the Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions requiring the Federal Reserve Bank to comply with requests for information made by Bloomberg under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Bloomberg simply wanted to know who received loans from the Fed’s discount window in the aftermath of the 2008 financial market crisis, and how much each entity received.  Surely this is basic information that should be available to every American taxpayer.  But the Fed fought tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court to preserve their privileged secrecy.  However, transparency and openness won the day.  There are some 29,000 pages to decipher, but a few points stand out initially.

The Fed lent huge sums of our money to foreign banks.  This in itself was not surprising, but the actual amount is staggering!  In one week at the height of the crisis, about 70% of the money doled out went to foreign banks.  We were told that bailing out banks was going to stave off a massive depression.  Depression for whom?  We now know that the Fed’s bailout had nothing to do with helping the American people, who have gotten their depression anyway with continued job losses and foreclosures.  But now we learn that a good deal of the money did not even help American banks!

In light of recent world events, perhaps the most staggering revelation is that quite a bit of money went to the Arab Banking Corp., in which the Libyan Central Bank owned about a third of its stock.  This occurred while Libya, a declared state sponsor of terrorism, was under strict economic sanctions!  How erratic the US must appear when we shower a dictator alternately with dollars and bombs!  Also, we must consider the possibility that those loans are inadvertently financing weapons Gaddaffi is using against his own people and western militaries.   This would not be the first time the covert activities of the Fed have undermined not only our economy and the value of the dollar, but our foreign policy as well.

Of course I can’t say I’m surprised by the poor quality of the data provided by the Fed.  The category of each loan made, whether from the “Primary Discount Window”, the “Secondary Discount Window,” or “Other Extensions of Credit,” is redacted.  Thus, we don’t know with certainty how much discount window lending was provided to foreign banks and how much was merely “other extensions of credit”.  Also, some of the numbers simply do not seem to add up.  We are of course still wading through the massive document dump, but it does seem as though several billions of dollars are unaccounted for.

As the world economy continues to falter in spite of – or rather because of – cheap money doled out by the Federal Reserve, its ability to deceive financial markets and American taxpayers is coming to an end.  People are beginning to realize that when the fed in effect doubles the worldwide supply of US dollars in a relatively short time, it has the effect of stealing half your money through reduced purchasing power.  Rapid inflation will continue as trillions in new money and credit recently created by the Fed flood into the commodity markets.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the Fed operates for the benefit of a few privileged banks, banks that never suffer for bad decisions they make.  Quite the opposite – as we have seen since October 2008, under our current monetary system politically-connected banks are paid to make bad decisions.

Deception at the Fed

Ron Paul

For the past three decades, the Federal Reserve has been given a dual mandate: keeping prices stable and maximizing employment.  This policy relies not only on the fatal conceit of believing in the wisdom of supposed experts, but also on numerical chicanery.

Rather than understanding inflation in the classical sense as a monetary phenomenon– an increase in the money supply- it has been redefined as an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The CPI is calculated based on a weighted basket of goods which is constantly fluctuating, allowing for manipulation of the index to keep inflation expectations low.  Employment figures are much the same, relying on survey data, seasonal adjustments, and birth/death models, while the major focus remains on the unemployment rate.  Of course, the unemployment rate can fall as discouraged workers drop out of the labor market altogether, leading to the phenomenon of a falling unemployment rate with no job growth.

In terms of keeping stable prices, the Fed has failed miserably.  According to the government’s own CPI calculators, it takes $2.65 today to purchase what cost one dollar in 1980.  And since its creation in 1913, the Federal Reserve has presided over a 98% decline in the dollar’s purchasing power.  The average American family sees the price of milk, eggs, and meat increasing, while packaged household goods decrease in size rather than price.

Loose fiscal policy has failed to create jobs also.  Consider that we had a $700 billion TARP program, nearly $1 trillion in stimulus spending, a government takeover of General Motors, and hundreds of billions of dollars of guarantees to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, FDIC, etc.  On top of those programs the Federal Reserve has provided over $4 trillion worth of assistance over the past few years through its credit facilities, purchases of mortgage-backed securities, and now its second round of quantitative easing.  Yet even after all these trillions of dollars of spending and bailouts, total nonfarm payroll employment is still seven million jobs lower than it was before this crisis began.

In this same period of time, the total U.S. population has increased by nine million people.  We would expect that roughly four million of these people should have been employed, so we are really dealing with eleven million fewer employed people than would otherwise be expected.

It should not be surprising that monetary policy is ineffective at creating actual jobs.  It is the effects of monetary policy itself that cause the boom and bust of the business cycle that leads to swings in the unemployment rate.  By lowering interest rates through its loose monetary policy, the Fed spurs investment in long-term projects that would not be profitable at market-determined interest rates.  Everything seems to go well for awhile until businesses realize that they cannot sell their newly-built houses, their inventories of iron ore, or their new cars.  Until these resources are redirected, often with great economic pain for all involved, true economic recovery cannot begin.

Over $4 trillion in bailout facilities and outright debt monetization, combined with interest rates near zero for over two years, have not and will not contribute to increased employment.  What is needed is liquidation of debt and malinvested resources.  Pumping money into the same sectors that have just crashed merely prolongs the crisis.  Until we learn the lesson that jobs are produced through real savings and investment and not through the creation of new money, we are doomed to repeat this boom and bust cycle.

Ron Paul

Elliott Wave International’s Understanding the Fed eBook is now available

elliott_wave_international-logo.gif

Dear reader,

My friends at Elliott Wave International have just released a free 34-page eBook, Understanding the Fed. It’s the free report the Federal Reserve doesn’t want you to read!

This eye-opening free report, which represents more than 10 years of research by Robert Prechter, goes beyond the Fed’s history and government mandate; it digs into the Fed’s real motivations for being the United States’ “lender of last resort.” In this 34-page report, you’ll discover how the Fed’s actions, combined with public outrage, may ultimately lead to its demise, plus much more about its secret activities and how it affects your money.

Download your free copy of EWI’s Understanding the Fed eBook, here.

Warmest regards,
Alan
———-
About the Publisher, Elliott Wave International
Founded in 1979 by Robert R. Prechter Jr., Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.