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Posts Tagged ‘federal deficit’

“There’s No Sense of Urgency” in Washington

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 10th, 2011 7:35 AM |

For those critical of Ben Bernanke and his massive bubble inducing, asset inflating quantitative easing program, Ben and his Federal Reserve friends have something to say to you. What wisdom do these banking behemoths have to share? Are you sitting down? In so many words, Bernanke and company offered that ‘if you think we’re bad, you should really focus on the clowns who have run up the out of control federal deficit.’

Wow!

Do two wrongs make a right? Does digging one hole get us out of another? Does a series of left hand turns ultimately bring us right back to where we began? Does anybody in Washington have the character to address our real structural problems? Does pointing fingers really get us anywhere? Why are we faced with these questions and problems? A lack of real leadership. (more…)

Why Are Interest Rates Headed Higher? “There’s a Whole New Risk Factor”

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 21st, 2011 7:19 AM |

With 2011 just barely out of the starting block, there are a lot of developments across our global economic landscape. What do I see? Long term interest rates are flashing warning signs. How so?

Many reasons domestically and internationally, but especially the following: (more…)

Paul Ryan (R-WI) Addresses ‘Fiscal Train Wreck’

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 7th, 2011 9:15 AM |

Upon further review and with a little prompting from some regular readers, I am correcting an oversight and am pleased to now induct Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) into the Sense on Cents Hall of Fame. He clearly deserves it.

Why induct Ryan now? Well, listen for yourself as Mr. Ryan provides a healthy dose of Midwestern values along with a man-sized portion of ‘sense on cents.’

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

Bernanke Conundrum

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 8th, 2009 7:27 AM |

Overnight markets indicate that Treasury prices are lower and interest rates subsequently higher (remember the inverse relationship between bond prices and interest rates). 2yr Treasury notes are trading at 1.33% and 10yr Treasury notes are trading at 3.85% (both are .03% higher from Friday’s close).

If interest rates are higher, clearly that move must be an indication that economic activity is improving and equity markets should be higher overnight, correct? In “normal” economic times, perhaps that line of reasoning would hold water, but in the Uncle Sam economy, we need to go deeper.

Equity futures indicate our stock markets will open lower by approximately 1%. What’s going on? Welcome to the Bernanke conundrum! What is the riddle wrapped inside our economic enigma? How can Fed chair Ben Bernanke nurse our economy back to health while at the same time maintaining the necessary fiscal independence, integrity, and discipline of robust Fed policy?

Big Ben has used aggressive measures to backstop a wide swath of our markets. In the process, he has created a fair amount of stability but with an effective government guarantee “insurance” policy as the cost of stability. Some of these policies have lessened in size as certain sectors have normalized. However, the major Fed programs remain in place. What are these?

1. quantitative easing: commitment to buy $1.3 trillion in total of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities in an attempt to keep these rates down. Then why are rates rising? More on this in a second.

2. commitment to provide necessary liquidity as needed to support the “wards of the state” including Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, GM, AIG, Citigroup.

These programs in conjunction with the massive deficit spending programs undertaken by the Obama administration have ballooned our expected funding needs in calendar 2009 to upwards of $3 trillion, a fourfold increase over prior years.

In my opinion, interest rates are moving up much less on any real signs of economic improvement than on these funding needs and very real signs of a monetary printing press malfunction. What’s that? With the Fed Funds rate at 0-.25%, the Fed is literally flooding the economy with cash. Where is that cash going? Is it flowing through to the economy? Not really.

The cash is pouring into the banking system to cushion and support financial institutions from the ongoing losses connected to rising defaults on credit cards, residential mortgages, commercial real estate, and corporate loans.

The market is now very clearly sending a signal to Bernanke, Geithner, Obama and team that if they want to continue their programs as designed (and they do and will), the price, that is the rate of interest, is going up. Why?

The market is very concerned that the flood of liquidity will lead to inflation if not rampant inflation and potentially hyperinflation. How does Bernanke head that off?

Withdraw the very liquidity that he has found so necessary to pour into the financial system. How does he do that?Two ways.

1. increase the Fed Funds rate: that is, make borrowing more expensive.

2. reverse the quantitative easing program so that the Fed actually sells Treasury and mortgage-backed securities into the market and takes liquidity out in the process. What are the impacts of both those maneuvers? Higher interest rates.

In fact, interest rates are moving higher already in anticipation of Bernanke being forced to make these moves. Can Bernanke “thread this needle?” What will happen if interest rates move higher?

Slow the economy, especially housing given higher mortgage rates, and lower earnings especially for financial institutions. To wit, our equity markets are lower overnight.

Nobody said this was going to be easy.

LD






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