Central Planning

Blog

Say Goodbye to the Purchasing Power of the Dollar

Mr. Bernanke goes to Crazytown
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 11:29 PM

On a long solo car trip this past weekend, I downloaded several podcasts to listen to as the miles passed. One was a classic: The Invention of Money, originally released by NPR's Planet Money team back in January of 2011. I highly recommend listening (or re-listening) to it in full.

The podcast is a great reminder of how any currency in a monetary system is a fabricated construct. A simpler way to explain this is to say it has value simply because we believe it does. » Read more

Podcast

Jim Rogers: We're Wiping out the Savings Class Globally, to Terrible Consequence

History shows this does not end well
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 12:19 PM

Jim Rogers decries the growing uncertainty and recklessness of global central planners as the world enters unchartered financial markets:

For the first time in recorded history, we have nearly every central bank printing money and trying to debase their currency. This has never happened before. How it’s going to work out, I don't know. It just depends on which one goes down the most and first, and they take turns. When one says a currency is going down, the question is against what? because they are all trying to debase themselves. It’s a peculiar time in world history.

Insider

The Forces That Will Reverse Housing's Recent Gains

Get ready for the "poverty effect"
Monday, February 25, 2013, 5:56 PM

Executive Summary

  • Intervention in the housing market by central planners is experiencing diminishing returns
  • The four major trend reversals most likely to depress housing prices in the coming future
  • The power deflationary force of reversion to (or perhaps below?) the mean
  • Why demographics do not support rising prices

If you have not yet read Part I: The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery', available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part I, we sketched out the larger context of the housing market: the dramatic rise of mortgage debt, the stagnation of income for 90% of households and the unprecedented scope of Central Planning intervention in the housing and mortgage markets.

In Part II, examine what will likely cause this nascent rise in housing prices to reverse, and to resume the decline Central Planning halted in 2009.

Intervention Has Only One Way to Go: Diminishing Returns

As noted in Part I, every Central Planning support of the mortgage and housing markets has already been pushed to the maximum, so there is nowhere left to go. Interest rates are already negative, over 90% of the mortgage market is backed by Federal agencies, the Fed has already pledged to buy trillions of dollars in mortgages, etc.

Four years of this massive intervention has stripped the mortgage and housing markets of the ability to price risk, capital, and assets. This has created a culture of supreme complacency, as participants have come to believe interest rates will stay near-zero for the foreseeable future and Central Planning intervention is permanent.

But nothing is permanent in life. And the current extremes of intervention and complacency have set the stage for some important reversals: » Read more

Blog

The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery'

Overdependence on subsidies, debt, and unfounded optimism
Monday, February 25, 2013, 5:55 PM

What could go wrong with the housing 'recovery' in 2013?

To answer this question, we need to understand that housing is the key component in household wealth. And, that Central Planning policies are aimed at creating a resurgent “wealth effect,” as follows: When people perceive their wealth as rising, they tend to borrow and spend more freely. This is a major goal of U.S. Central Planning.

Another key goal of Central Planning is to strengthen the balance sheets of banks and households. And the broadest way to accomplish this is to boost the value of housing. This then adds collateral to banks holding mortgages and increases the equity of homeowners.

Some analysts have noted that housing construction and renovation has declined to a modest percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). This perspective understates the importance of the family house as the largest asset for most households and housing’s critical role as collateral in the banking system. » Read more

Blog

The Trends to Watch in 2013

Probabilities are becoming more certain
Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 12:26 AM

Rather than attempt to predict the unpredictable – that is, specific events and price levels – let’s look instead for key dynamics that will play out over the next two to three years. Though the specific timelines of crises are inherently unpredictable, it is still useful to understand the eventual consequences of influential trends.

In other words: policies that appear to have been successful for the past four years may continue to appear successful for a year or two longer. But that very success comes at a steep, and as yet unpaid, price in suppressed systemic risk, cost, and consequence. » Read more