Yellen Almost Admits Economy Too Weak to Raise Rates – Ep. 96

Released Thursday, 16th July 2015
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Today Janet Yellen goes back up the Hill for the second of her 2-day Congressional testimony and the press has already made headlines about what she did not say
According to the headlines, Yellen's "hawkish" testimony reflected that she is putting the Fed on a path to hike rates later later this year
That is not what she said
From her prepared, written testimony, which was carefully crafted for all eyes, this is what she said:
"If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely will make it appropriate at some time this year to raise the Federal Funds rate target, thereby beginning to normalize the stance on monetary policy."
This sentence starts with a big condition: "If the economy evolves as we expect"
When has the economy ever evolved as the Fed expected? - Probably never
Even if the economy improves, those improvements may not live up to the Fed's unspecified expectations
"Economic conditions might make it appropriate to raise rates-
Not result in raising rates, of require us to raise rates - just because it is appropriate to raise rates doesn't mean the Fed will raise them
If the Fed was going to do what was appropriate, they would have raised rates a long time ago
Zero percent interest rates was never appropriate
Yellen herself has said she was likely to leave interest rates lower than would be appropriate because of "special circumstances"
Even if it is appropriate, there is no commitment to raise rates at any point this year
If Janet Yellen really said what the headlines infer, she would have said:
"Given the strength in the economy we will be raising interest rates later this year
She said nothing like that
The Fed went way out of its way to commit to nothing
Yet that's not the way the media is covering this
Why is that? Everyone wants to pretend that the economy is good and that the Fed is going to normalize interest rates
All of this make-believe causes the dollar to rally and gold to go down
By talking about raising interest rates, the Fed is pretending that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates without actually inflicting the pain of higher interest rates on all those addicted to the bubble economy
Yellen's responses to to questions during the Q&A were equally dovish
At one point in particular Yellen admitted that we've had zero percent interest rates for a long time and will proceed slowly in any attempt to raise rates
If we notice higher rates are causing pain, we will slow down
What is hawkish about that?
When Paul Volker raised rates to 20% of course he knew it would hurt the economy in the short term, but he knew it was needed
Yellen is worried that if the patient makes a bad face, she will discontinue the "medicine"
It is impossible to raise rates without hurting the economy, especially because a large part of our economy is now dependent on zero interest rates
Higher interest rates will expose a lot of unsound business decisions
It's not the economy that will be hurt, but the bubble - zero percent interest rates are the fuel for the bubble
Zero percent interest rates are more essential now than they were six years ago
Now we have much more debt to service
An interest rates hike would quickly wipe out any minimal gain from a stronger economy
The reality is the economy is already weakening
70% of our GDP is consumption fueled by debt
Yellen said that zero percent interest rates may be a problem in the long run
It's the long run now
The deficit is already unsustainable
One of the most interesting rates went unanswered:
Because you have waited so long to raise rates, what will the Fed do if we go back into recession?
The biggest disconnect is that people do not see that if interest rates went up, we would not be able to service out debt
I said the same thing about sub-prime mortgages - everyone thought real estate prices would go up indefinitely
The problem the U.S.

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Episode Details

Length
31m 38s
Explicit
No

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