- Why the Fed's rate hikes are not actual "hikes"
- The new debt issuance directly or indirectly enabled by the Fed is staggeringly large
- Why the Fed's intervention in the financial markets is creating worrisome instability
- As the risks mount, what should the concerned investor do?
When Is A Rate Hike Not A Rate Hike?
The Fed keeps talking about raising interest rates, but they really aren’t doing any such thing. In fact they are doing the opposite.
I know that’s a controversial statement, so let me explain. The point of a ‘rate hike’ is not to make the cost of money (interest rates) go up, but to drain excess money from the system. That’s why a rate hike cycle is called a ‘tightening’ cycle; because it is making the amount of money available for lending to shrink, or for conditions to become tighter. The same as if you don’t have quite enough money at the end of the month, things are tight.
This means that the interest rate is the derivative, and the amount of money is the main driver. You don’t set interest rates, you control the amount of money in the system, and the interest rates follow along. They are the result, not the cause.
Or at least that’s how it used to be. But not any longer.
In the past, when the Fed ‘hiked rates’ what it actually did was drain money from the system. Money out = interest rates up.
Now when the Fed hikes rates it removes zero money in the system, and this is why a rate hike is not actually a rate hike at all, but the opposite because it leaves 100% of the money in the system but raises the amount that banks and other financial institutions can charge you for new loans and outstanding credit.
How did we get to this ‘upside down world’ where a rate hike increases money?
To understand let’s be sure we are clear on…