Thursday, April 4, 2013

David Stockman: Venting

I came across David Stockman's New York Times opinionated editorial via Paul Krugman's putdown.  I think Stockman makes some interesting observations and at times is way too dogmatic (and political), but it is very entertaining.  This gem caught my eye:
That Mr. Greenspan’s loose monetary policies didn’t set off inflation was only because domestic prices for goods and labor were crushed by the huge flow of imports from the factories of Asia. By offshoring America’s tradable-goods sector, the Fed kept the Consumer Price Index contained, but also permitted the excess liquidity to foster a roaring inflation in financial assets. Mr. Greenspan’s pandering incited the greatest equity boom in history, with the stock market rising fivefold between the 1987 crash and the 2000 dot-com bust.
Certainly there was inflation during Greenspan's time running the US Federal Reserve, but I agree that there is a wealth effect associated with cheap imports.  No doubt that when measured to expectations of price inflation, cheap imports reduce the household budget enough to make it appear that the household has become wealthier.  This may be one explanation for rising debt levels, as well as demographic changes (i.e. baby boomers).
One more gem:
Instead of moderation, what’s at hand is a Great Deformation, arising from a rogue central bank that has abetted the Wall Street casino, crucified savers on a cross of zero interest rates and fueled a global commodity bubble that erodes Main Street living standards through rising food and energy prices — a form of inflation that the Fed fecklessly disregards in calculating inflation.
He is entertaining with an interesting view on the repo (rental) market.


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