Monday, July 6, 2009

Princeton Circles the Wagons

"I'm a big advocate of much strengthened financial regulation. One argument I don't buy, however, it that we should try to shrink financial institutions down to the point where nobody is too big to fail. Basically, it's just not possible", Paul Krugman (PK) at the NYT, 18 June 2009, link:

"But, apparently, for those who are sufficiently hawkish, the recent activities of the [Fed] conjure up visions of inflation. ... Yes, these moves are unusual, but these are unusual times. Concluding that the Fed is leading us into inflation assumes a degree of incompetence that I simply don't buy. Let me explain. First, the clear and present danger, both now and for the next year or two, is not inflation but deflation. Using the 12-month change in the [CPI] as the measure, inflation has now been negative for three consecutive months. ... But history teaches us that weak economies drag down inflation--and ours will be weak for some time. Core inflation near zero, or even negative, is a live possibility for 2010 or 2011. ... Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, is a keen student of the 1930s, and he and his colleagues have been working overtime to dodge the deflation bullet. ... The mountain of reserves on banks' balance sheets has, in turn, filled the inflation hawks with apprehension. But their concerns are misplaced. ... The Fed is well aware of the exit problem. It is planning for it, it is competent enough to carry out its responsibilities and has committed itself to an inflation target of just under 2 percent. Of course, none of that assures us that the Fed will hit the bull's-eye. It might miss and produce, say inflation of 3 percent or 4 percent at the end of the crisis--but not 8 or 10 percent. ... SKEPTICAL? Then let's see what the bond market vigilantes really think. The market's implied forecast of future inflation is indicated by the difference between the nominal interest rates of regular Treasury debt and the corresponding real interest rates on ... TIPS. ... But on Friday, the five-year expected inflation rate was about 1.6 percent and the 10-yerar expected rate was about 1.9 percent", original capitals, my emphasis, Alan Blinder (AB) at the NYT, 21 June 2009, link:

"In contrast the Fed wants us to believe that there is so much 'slack' in the economy--economists call this the output gap--that there is nothing to worry about, inflation won't happen. What the Fed and the ECB have in common is a 'trust us' attitude, telling us that as long as we put our faith into the mighty hands of central bankers, we will be fine. And that's where the fundamental problem lies: rational investors ought to make investment decisions based on an evaluation of facts, not based on nice talk by central bankers. ... Don't understimate the Fed, though: unless the public and foreign lenders completely lose confidence in the Fed, it has the power to control inflation expectations in the medium term. ... The real question, however, is whether the Fed is going to follow through on its promise to keep inflation in check. ... The Fed may actually want to have inflation push up home prices. ... In our assessment, the scenario the Fed would favor is a prolonged period of elevated inflation; some estimates are from 4% up to 7% or 8%; others higher", my emphasis, Axel Merk (AM) 24 June 2009, link:

Thanks YS for this. Why PK? I'm waiting. I'll be blunt PK, I'm not your student so can be. Give me an "F". See if I care. You figure in return for supporting and letting TBTF banks exist, they will facilitate wealth redistribution to whatever groups Uncle Sam and you support. How right am I?

Princeton's economics department produces luminaries like: PK, Zimbabwe Ben (ZB) and AB. Smart guys all. But unscrupulous propagandists! How thoughtful AB, to invite my response. "Degree of incompetence"? No way. ZB is smart. He knows what he's doing. Yes old ZB is a keen student of the 1930s. Unfortunately he apparently knows little if anything of 1920s Germany. What is the Fed's real "bull's-eye"? I say its an inflation rate over 8-10 percent, see my 4 July 2008 post: Is something strange in Princeton's water? Or does its economics department require all members take a mafia-like omerta oath to support the Fed. It seems AB and PK are peddling a modernized Phillips Curve. I'll say again, "Got gold? Get more. Got bonds? Nitwit"! AB, may you only own 30-year Treasury bonds and hold them to maturity. That would please even the Mikado's Lord High Executioner. PK, you've been singing this song for a while, see my 23 June 2009 post: At least some economists disagree with the "Princeton Three", like Harvard's Ken Rogoff cited on 12 May 2009 here:

I am in substantial agreement with AM. The "Fed wants up to believe". Yes boys and girls, clap hands so Tinkerbelle may live.


Anonymous said...

Alan Blinder... shill... super shill... I've thought so little of him since he went after William Buiter out west... with the little Dutch boy and the dike nonsense... Blinder is a media least Krugman has a real job as a columnist... Blinder just rushes for the lights then starts up his Federal Reserve two step... talking his book... whatever...

Inflation... huh... they seem to be able to control everything but the real state of the economy... green shoots... repo is working... money markets are working... CDS has tightened up... OAS spread looks better... oh... we can do magic... errr but the real economy is in the dirt...

Pres-O is probably getting a little weary of the fun Bloomberg explanations about the financial markets magic... yeah Pres-O you better get some briefings on how the Fed is going manage this coming inflation... nobody will buy "that it just happened"... the veil is gone and we can see Fed now...

Who does run this country?

Jr Deputy Accountant said...

"may you only own 30-year Treasury bonds and hold them to maturity"

I'm "borrowing" that from you. Too hilarious.

This goes for Geithner as well. And he wasn't even birthed from Princeton's well of economic brainiacs.