Grant Williams returns this week to set the context for this week’s FOMC meeting, where the Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. To say he is very skeptical of the Fed’s ability to continue to control market forces much longer is a gross understatement:
None of this has been tried before and, to me, that just demonstrates the dangers. Once you get into a situation like the central banks did in ’08 with this panicking — everyone calls it the Hotel California — you can’t get out. And, so incrementally, they have to keep doing something. Instead of stepping back and letting free markets and business cycles and forces of nature have their way and flush out all of the impurities in the system, this is what happens. And, yet, this time, for whatever reason, I think since post-Volker, Greenspan has basically started this ball rolling with this knee-jerk reaction to slash interest rates. And, you can kind of understand it, because everyone was still traumatized by the high inflation of the ‘70s. But, they started and they started down that road.
And, if you look at a chart of interest rates in the U.S., you can see. It’s just, from 1980—I’ve marked two points on all my charts for presentations. One is the end of the gold standard, August 15, ’71, when Nixon closed the gold window. And, the next is peak interest rates in 1980. And, if you look at those two charts and you see what’s happened with interest rates since, they’ve been on a course to hit zero ever since.
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