Friday, September 25, 2015

Another Completely Irrelevant Topic -- The Fed

Who cares what the Fed is doing?  Does it really matter?  Can the Fed push up rates even if wants to (which seems to be the case)?

Global economic growth is collapsing.  That is the reality.  The Fed watch is a total waste of everyone's time.

Why is the global economy collapsing?

The answer: politics.

Why has Europe had no growth for a decade?  Why is the US economic performance the worst post-recession performance in the country's history?  Why are Brazil, India, and Russia imploding?
The answer to these questions is the same answer in every case.  Too much government; too little free markets.

China is the only country that seems to be headed in the right direction.  Over time, China continues to loosen government control and learn from its policy mistakes.  The US and Europe double down on bad policies, blinding themselves to an unpleasant future reality.

China will, no doubt, suffer a downturn -- a very natural downturn correcting excesses of explosive economic growth.  But, China will come surging back and it will happen quickly.  In one of history's great ironies, the Chinese communist government has more respect for free markets than can be found in the capitals of the US and Europe.

So, why all the attention to the Fed?  Mostly an unwillingness to confront reality.  The western economies are unlikely to ever really have significant economic growth again -- ever.  The dramatic lack of support for free markets in western politics has changed the landscape.  Unless there is some major political reversal in western politics, such as occurred in the Reagan-Thatcher days, the western economies have entered a state of permanent economic stagnation.

Talking about the Fed makes it seem as if the wizard behind the curtain can make things chug along once more.  But, the wizard is out of bullets and has lost its way in a sea of political and economic confusion.

Until individuals are free to make economic decisions based upon what is in their best interest, the incentives that lie behind economic growth aren't there any more.  The western economies are going to learn, painfully, what the Chinese government seems to know-- when you enact a legislative regime that eliminates incentives, you eliminate economic growth.

Almost all of the economic policies advocated by western politicians (including their spiritual bedfellow -- the Pope) would serve to reduce economic growth and plunge the poorest people in the world into a dungeon from which they cannot escape.  Good intentions often work this way.

So, the attention to the Fed is mainly a useful way to change the subject and avoid reality.

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