Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free Money
(and other economic folderol)

The Federal Reserve has set the prime interest rate somewhere between zero and 0.25%. Pretty much that means that when a bank wants to borrow money from the Fed the money is free. It is even better news for those people who have Prime Minus home equity loans. If I understand basic math correctly, Pittsford Federal Credit Union, for example, is going to be paying people to borrow money from them.

Consumer prices fell 1.7% in the month of November. That is an annual deflation rate of 20%. That means, pretty much, that if you had a thousand dollars in cash (not in the stock market, you dolt) on October 31, it would be worth an extra $17 on December 1. That means the wisest thing to do is invest your money in a buried shoe box, you'll get a better rate of return than anywhere else.

The Fed has reached to point where if what they do isn't working they have nothing left to try. It not working is actually the good alternative. If the Fed's actions succeed in stimulating the economy they will have pumped so much liquidity into the economy that the 20% deflation rate will turn into a 100% inflation rate in the blink of an eye. To prevent runaway, Zimbabwe-like, inflation at the first signs of recovery the Fed is going to have to stomp on the breaks so hard they will throw the economy into a still deeper recession than we are in now.

Shit. Deep shit. Deeper shit. Deepest shit. Take your pick.

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