Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20
China Recovered in Q2. Will the Red Dragon Sink Gold? - 23rd Jul 20
UK Covid19 MOT 6 Month Extensions Still Working Late July 2020? - 23rd Jul 20
How Did the Takeaway Apps Stocks Perform During the Lockdown? - 23rd Jul 20
US Stock Market Stalls Near A Double Peak - 23rd Jul 20
Parking at Lands End Car Park Cornwall - UK Holidays 2020 - 23rd Jul 20
Translating the Gold Index Signal into Gold Target - 23rd Jul 20
Weakness in commodity prices suggests a slowing economy - 23rd Jul 20
This Stock Market Stinks - But Not Why You May Think - 22nd Jul 20
Protracted G7 Economic Contraction – or Multiyear Global Depression - 22nd Jul 20
Gold and Oil: Be Aware of the "Spike" - 22nd Jul 20
US Online Casino Demographics: Who Plays Online For Money? - 22nd Jul 20
Machine Intelligence Quantum AI Stocks Mega-Trend Forecast 2020 to 2035! - 21st Jul 20
How to benefit from the big US Infrastructure push - 21st Jul 20
Gold and gold mining stocks are entering a strong seasonal phase - 21st Jul 20
Silver Eyes Key Breakout Levels as Inflation Heats Up - 21st Jul 20
Gold During Coronavirus Recession and Beyond - 21st Jul 20
US Election 2020: ‘A Major Bear Market of Political Decency’ - 21st Jul 20
Summertime Sizzle for Gold and Silver - 21st Jul 20
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC Review - Delivery and Unboxing (3) - 21st Jul 20
Will Coronavirus Vaccines Become a Bridge to Nowhere? - 20th Jul 20
Stock Market Time for Caution?  - 20th Jul 20
ClickTrades Review - The Importance of Dynamic Analysis and Educational Tools in Online Trading - 20th Jul 20
US Housing Market Collapse Second Phase Pending - 20th Jul 20
Capitalising on the AI Mega-trend - 20th Jul 20
Getting Started with Machine Learning - 20th Jul 20
Why Moores Law is NOT Dead! - 20th Jul 20
Help the Economy by Going Outside - 19th Jul 20
Stock Market Fantasy Finance: Follow the Money - 19th Jul 20
Did the Stock Market Bubble Just Pop? - 19th Jul 20
Quick Souring of the S&P 500 Stock Market Mood - 19th Jul 20
The Six-Year Jobs Recession - 19th Jul 20
Silver Demand Exploding! - 18th Jul 20
Tesco Scraps Covid Safe One Way Arrow Supermarket Shopping System - 18th Jul 20
The Rise of Online Pawnbroking - 17th Jul 20
Gold Rallies Together With U.S. Covid-19 Cases - 17th Jul 20
Gold & Silver Measured Moves - 17th Jul 20
The Bizarre Mathematics Of How Negative Interest Rates Create Stratospheric Profits - 17th Jul 20
From a Stocks Bull Market Far, Far Away, Virus Doomsday Scenerio! - 16th Jul 20
Fiscal Cliffs and the Self-destructing Treasury - 16th Jul 20
Dow Stock Market Crash Watch - Update - 16th Jul 20
Gold & Silver Gaining on US Dollar Weakness - 16th Jul 20
How to Find the Best Stocks to Invest In - 16th Jul 20
Overclockers UK Custom Build PC Review - 2. System Build Changes Communications - 16th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

The Big Inflationist Scare

Economics / Deflation Jun 22, 2009 - 02:05 PM GMT

By: Mike_Shedlock

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleInquiring minds are reading Pushing on a String by Gary North.

Gary always writes an interesting column. Indeed, there is too much to excerpt that I suggest reading it. Gary has many of his facts correct, yet still manages to come to the wrong conclusion.


CONCLUSION

The Federal Reserve can re-ignite monetary inflation at any time by charging banks a fee to keep excess reserves with the FED.

Anyone who predicts an inevitable price deflation does not understand that the present scenario is the product of legitimately terrified bankers and the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. At any time, the FED can get all of the banks' money lent. But the FED knows that this will double the money supply within weeks. This will create mass price inflation.

This is the central fact in the inflation vs. deflation debate. Until the deflationists answer it with a unified voice, they will remain, as their predecessors remained, people with neither a theoretical nor a practical case for their position.

So, the FED waits. Meanwhile, the Federal government's share of the economy rises relentlessly because of the deficits. This is not going to change in the next few years.

We are seeing Keynesianism's last stand. When it fails, the FED will force the banks to lend. Then we will see mass inflation.

Mass deflation? Forget about it.

 

Yes, the bankers are terrified, not just in the US but globally.

However, Gary's hypothesis "the Federal Reserve can re-ignite monetary inflation at any time by charging banks a fee to keep excess reserves with the FED", is just that, a hypothesis, and I believe a very poor one at that.

Bernanke's idea to pay interest on reserves will slowly recapitalize banks over time. This is why he desperately wanted to do so. To suggest he is about to charge interest on deposits is silly.

The key fact now is there are not enough credit worthy customers for banks to want to lend, or for that matter willing borrowers looking to expand debt. Thus, if banks had to pay interest on reserves, rather than causing mass inflation, the Fed would cause mass panic.

Indeed, the likely result would be banks scrambling for dollars to repay the Fed as opposed to a mad dash to lend dollars.

Clearly the Fed understands this. Thus, it's not the Fed who is screaming about the banks' unwillingness to lend; it's Congress. Moreover, banks won't lend because most of them know the score as well, regardless of what lies they tell the public about being well capitalized. This is why "reserves" are accumulating in the first place.

Of course those "excess reserves" are a mirage; they don't really exist. Banks need those reserves because of the massive wave of credit card defaults and foreclosures yet to hit the books. Every uptick in unemployment exacerbates credit card losses, foreclosures, losses on home equity loans, etc, something that Gary North ignores.

So charging interest on reserves would not bring about inflation, it would cause a systemic deflationary crash if Bernanke was foolish enough to attempt it.

No Unified Voice

Gary writes "Until the deflationists answer it with a unified voice, they will remain, as their predecessors remained, people with neither a theoretical nor a practical case for their position."

There is no such thing as a "unified deflationist voice". Of course there is no such thing as a "unified inflationist voice" either.

No Inflationist Voice

Most inflationists, Gary North included (but certainly not all), look at the situation through the eyes of money supply in conjunction with the Fed's so-called ability to cause inflation at will. However, if the Fed could cause inflation at will, it would have done it long ago. Note: Congress can create inflation at will by giving everyone $1 million, but the Fed cannot do such a thing, nor would they even if they could, because it would destroy banks.

The Fed does not really give a damn about consumers; all it cares about is banks. That is why bailout money went to lending institutions not individuals. However, individuals are still loaded up in debt with no way to pay it back given the collapse in jobs. Still others are able to pay back loans but instead are walking away.

Anyone ignoring the complete collapse of credit or assuming as Gary does in the above article, is making a second huge mistake. Indeed, the Flow of Funds Report Offers Hard Evidence of Deflation.

Other inflationists look at consumers prices, some look at commodity prices, still others look at the price of gold as a measure of inflation. Of those watching money supply, some concentrate on Base Money supply as Gary North does, others M2, M3, MZM, or even Austrian Money Supply as a measure of inflation. Interestingly, there are even two different versions of Austrian Money supply with a pretty big difference between the two versions.

Every one of them is wrong.

We have a credit based economy and anyone watching money supply and not watching credit is simply wrong. This is a statement of fact, not idle conjecture. Only those watching and expecting the collapse in credit and understanding the role of gold got things correct. This is a very small group of people.

No Deflationist Voice

Just as there is no unified inflationist voice, there is no unified deflationist voice. Some, like Prechter were 30 years early. Prechter finally got his deflation. However, he did not get the collapase in gold back to $250 as he called for years. Prechter simply does not understand gold is money, and what that means during deflationary times.

Certainly most in mass media treat deflation as if it can be measured by a drop in consumer prices. Gary North plays ping pong with inflationists and deflationists stating what they believe as if they all believed the same thing, yet interestingly he decries the lack of a "unified voice". Here is one interesting section:

Why anyone worries about price deflation is a mystery to me. With the power of money creation through the purchase of assets, there is no theoretical limit to how high prices can rise. Because people associate rising prices of whatever they sell or own as a sign of prosperity, there is always support for fiat money.

The deflationist says, "the banks can create credit, but people may decide not to borrow." This is true. But why wouldn't they borrow?

Actually, no one should be worried about a drop in prices because deflation is a natural state of affairs on account of rising productivity over time.

More importantly Gary makes a huge leap of faith, overstating the Fed's ability to cause inflation, and concludes "Why wouldn't they borrow?" The answer should be obvious.

Why Consumers Won't Borrow

Cash strapped boomers headed into retirement are finding they do not have enough money on which to retire. They are traveling less, spending less, and have too much of their assets tied up in illiquid real estate investments. Moreover, banks will not lend because there are too few qualified borrowers.

Peak Credit is in. The Effect of Household Deleveraging on Housing, Consumption and the Stock Market is massive.

Moreover, please note that the Fed cannot control sentiment of either borrowers or lenders. The Fed can merely encourage.

Personal Savings Rate Rising


The savings rate is rising, as expected. And in case inflationists have not noticed, lending standards have tightened dramatically.

Pending regulation is massive and will likely restrict credit in aggregate. Everyone wants to prevent a recurrence of the last bubble. There is no need. The housing bubble will not be reblown for decades.

There is virtually no evidence consumers want to borrow. Likewise, there is virtually no evidence, none, that banks are about to go on a lending spree. Moreover, there is no evidence the Fed is attempting to force banks to lend. And finally, there is no evidence the Fed is considering charging banks a fee to keep excess reserves with the FED, or that if they did, that it would accomplish anything other than a deflationary collapse.

Fears of massive inflation are at this point ridiculous.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management . Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.

I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver.

When not writing about stocks or the economy I spends a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com .

© 2009 Mike Shedlock, All Rights Reserved

Mike Shedlock Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules