President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration won’t take place for two more months and yet his proposed economic plan is already sending ripples through markets. Treasury notes and bonds are tanking, stocks are rallying and the Dollar Index has surged to highs not seen in more than 10 years. All of which is in utter contrast to what analysts had expected to occur post-Trump’s election, and which seemingly presents a paradox of sorts. Trump’s two economic focal points are aggressive tax cuts and massive infrastructure investment. Both are expected, according to The Office of Management and Budget, to push the US debt burden by roughly 25% of GDP by 2020. And yet, in conjunction with those expectations, the Dollar is gaining.
Naturally, the most obvious reason would be that higher deficits will lead to inflation and, consequently, would force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. But that is a consequence rather than a reason. The real reason is that both the US economy and the US banking system have been ripe for higher rates for a while, and Trump’s plans for the economy, or “Trumponomics” as we like to call it, is merely a catalyst for an already strong economy. Continue reading "Trumponomics, Bonds And The Dollar"→
No matter the debates over inflation vs. deflation, increasing employment vs. sound monetary policy or systemic health vs. fragility (and whatever else is flying around in Jackson Hole this week), the CPI marches onward and upward. That is the system and it is predicated on creating enough money out of thin air while inflation signals are (somehow) held at bay.
The Straw Man* in this argument lives in the idea that inflation is not always destructive, that inflation can be used for good and honed, massaged and targeted just right to achieve positive ends to defeat the curse of deflation that is surely just around the next corner. Currently, the Straw Man is supported by the reality of the moment, which includes long-term Treasury yields remaining in their long-term secular down trend.
People argue over inflation’s effects and the expectations thereof but the CPI, which is the ultimate measure of inflation’s lagging effects, has never stopped to take a breather. 2008′s liquidation of the system? Child’s play. Inflation, which is what the Fed has been hysterically promoting since 2007, will always manifest in rising prices somewhere. As luck would have it, this time it is manifesting in the stock market to a greater degree than the CPI. ‘All good!’ think our policy makers if the right prices are rising. Continue reading "Deflationary Straw Man"→