Halloween was last week. We saw hobgoblins and scarecrows… 6ft tall rodents… and at least one crow that weighed 200 lbs.
A few days ago, investors were sure it was QE (quantitative easing) from Here to Eternity. Now, they’re not so sure. The US Federal Reserve seemed to leave some uncertainty on the matter when it made its remarks on Wednesday.
However, we have little doubt. The Fed will undertake no serious program of tapering off. It is determined to increase ‘demand.’ And the only kind of demand it knows is the kind you get from cash and credit.
As to real demand – what you get from actual increases in real wealth and real prosperity – the Fed knows nothing, except that it can’t help.
The US Federal Reserve is not really stimulating a recovery. But it is simulating one…with phony demand coming from phony asset prices based on phony low interest rates. And now it can’t take off the mask.
Because then, all the disguises, false beards, and fraudulent get-ups will have to come off – like the day after Halloween. When we see things for what they really are.
Then we realise that much of our stock values, our standards of living, our earnings, our balance sheets are all based on a lie – the lie of constantly expanding credit.
Credit has been increasing roughly twice as fast as the real economy was growing since the early ‘80s. That’s when everyone came to believe that ‘deficits don’t matter.’
But they do matter. Because when you increase your debt faster than your income for 30 years you end up with a lot more debt than income. You also find yourself in a dead end.
Because your whole economy has come to depend on something that can’t continue. You can’t run up your debt levels forever. Eventually forever comes. And then, the masks drop… the beards fall to the ground… and the costumes come off.
In short, the US economy is living on borrowed money and borrowed time. And when the Fed stops adding new credit, its time will be up.
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