Friday, August 16, 2013

Huff Puff ... Gasp

Last week's 320,000 new unemployment claims was the lowest weekly number since Oct 2007, this of course was before the Bush Crash really started to pick up speed. Back then 300,000 plus in weekly claims was seen as disturbingly high, but those weekly numbers would seem tame by the time Bush left office for a career in painting self portraits.

Core inflation has ticked up to 1.7%, and this with better unemployment numbers is reinforcing cries about the "imminent tapering of the Federal Reserve's bond purchases". The pundits who make their living predicting what the Federal Reserve is going to do have really latched on to this one, nobody seems to care that they're always less accurate than a coin flip. The Fed will at some point have to cut back on bond purchases, so they will someday be right. At the moment the Federal Government isn't creating any new bonds (except to roll over existing bonds) since they're up against the debt ceiling.

The Fed's target for inflation is 2% so they really aren't close to shutting down the printing press. Printing money like this drives the rightwingers nuts, but this is what the Fed is supposed to do, it is in the money printing business after all. Rand Paul got himself into a bit a pickle by suggesting Fed Chairman nominees of Fredrick Hayek and Milton Freedman. I suppose he thought he was safe since they're both dead, and they are heroes of far right crazies in the way Ayn Rand is. All three were writers of absurd right-wing fiction.

Nobody took Hayek seriously when he was alive since he was wrong about everything to do with economics, he thought the Great Depression was a fine thing. Freedman was taken seriously until Chile brought him in to redo their economy and completely destroyed it. That didn't stop Reagan from implementing as many of the same policies as he could. Milton Friedman wasn't a committed ideologue however, and favored printing massive amounts money the way the Fed is doing it as preferential to sliding into a Great Depression. Rand Paul seems undeterred by this small fact.

Rand Paul doesn't really favor either Hayek's or Friedman's approach to economics, he seems to believe in magical gold coins. The Paul family never explains how the government would go about putting a lot of gold into circulation without doing the very things they oppose being done with paper money. A really basic thing is that gold coins are no different than paper money when they circulate as money, the value is stamped on them, otherwise you'd have to check the gold market every time you went to the cash register. In that reality the price of gold would be listed in Yuan, since China would be the only major economy. Wait, we're in that reality already.

You can still have inflation and deflation with gold coins since prices are really set by the surplus or the scarcity of goods, and not just the money supply. The fact that there is a tiny market for gold in fillings and computer circuits doesn't really 'set the value' of gold. If people started hoarding gold coins the Treasury would have to issue more of them the same way the Federal Reserve is printing electronic money to defeat billionaire cash hoarders, and take the coins out of circulation to prevent inflation just like with paper money.

We're not seeing massive hyper-inflation that the far right is always predicting because there is no mechanism to make that happen. Wages continue fall with the corporate created labor surplus plus de-unionization, and there is a constant surplus of goods with factories operating far below capacity. You only see the situation of a wheelbarrow of money needed to buy bread when there's little bread to be had, but people continue to get paid ever increasing amounts of money.

The price increases we have been seeing are entirely due to the huge run up in oil prices by the Bush-Cheney regime, and from the market manipulation of fuel prices by the Wall Street banks. This pressure is starting to wane and we could see falling prices instead. It would be a great time to dramatically raise the minimum wage, but that's going to take getting rid of the Republicans. Twitter @BruceEnberg There's no hyper-inflation on twitter, just hyper-ventilation


Dave said...

The righty-liar. . .er talker noise maker has been trying to tell us that fast-food jobs are done by young people with little job experience so the low wages are OK. The only problem with this idea is that it's completely false.

However imagine that it was true. The workers the fast-food multinationals got were the less skilled and experienced. Everyone else working in this fantastic arrangement would have higher skill higher paying jobs.

That would mean people who work would be doing more than just scraping by. What??!!! Whoever heard of such nonsense??!!!

I suppose next you want the wealth to belong to more than just one tenth of one percent of the population. That has to be blasphemy against GOHD. There just has to be something about it in that book somewhere!

Anonymous said...

I remember what the Bush-Cheney cabal did with the stratigic oil reserve. When the price of oil rose they started to buy for the reserve and when the price dropped they let up. At no time did they ever threat to use the reserve to stabalize prices. I wonder who benefited from these actions in the oil market?

DemandSider said...

With the advent of The Kissinger/Nixon petro reserve currency after the The Vietnam debacle, isn't our dollar ultimately backed by OPEC oil trading? Can we ever expect an economy based on real wealth creation through manufacturing with that potential petro debt inflation out there creating a perverse incentive to export dollars and import goods?

We have run trade deficits for 37 years straight, corresponding almost exactly with the inception of the petro debt float.

So, rewording the question, should we ever expect a trade surplus, or an economy based on REAL wealth, like China, Germany, Japan, Norway, Holland, etc, with the petro reserve currency system in place?

I don't.

P.S. Here's CIA's list of countries by current account balance. Yeah, we're dead last:

PPS: This is kind of a deusy, prairie2, I hope you have time. Thank you.