Is the economy really recovering or is it all just hype?
Here's what we know. The Fed doesn't drop rates to zero unless its
facing a 5 alarm fire and needs to pull out all the stops. The idea is to flood
the markets with liquidity in order to avoid a complete financial meltdown. It's
a last-ditch maneuver and the Fed does not take it lightly.
The Fed initiated its zero interest rate policy, ZIRP, eight
months ago (December 16 2008) and hasn't raised rates since. In the
meantime, Fed chair Ben Bernanke has pumped huge amounts of money into the
financial system using thoroughly-untested and unconventional means. No one
knows whether Bernanke can roll up his multi-trillion dollar lending facilities
or not (and avoid Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation) because no one has ever created
similar programs. It's all "make-it-up-as-you-go" policymaking. What we do know,
however, is that the Fed intends to keep rates at rock-bottom for the
foreseeable future, which means that the lights are all still blinking red.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Recovery or Hype?
Mike Whitney from Counterpunch writes: