The Fed’s Monetary Animal House

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

“…seven years of college down the drain.” – John “Bluto” Blutarsky, Animal House

The inspiration and credit for this article belongs to Emil Kalinowski and his recent publication, The Silent Depression: Trundling Is the New Booming.

Most profound about Kalinowski’s piece is that it was published just eight days prior to the February 19 S&P 500 market peak. Kalinowski’s article highlights the same problem that I have been discussing for many months now. That issue is how the media, Wall Street’s “finest,” and Ph.D. economists misrepresent economic conditions.

Their economic euphemisms and overly optimistic expectations remind me of a Dylan Grice quote “Linguistic precision yields cognitive precision.” Or, put a little differently, linguistic imprecision yields stupidity.

Strong economic footing

We entered this turbulent period on a strong economic footing, and that should help support the recovery. In the meantime, we are using our tools to help build a bridge from the solid economic foundation on which we entered this crisis to a position of regained economic strength on the other side. –Jerome Powell 4/9/2020

To paraphrase Bluto, “eleven years of economic recovery down the drain.” Sporting a 0.0 GPA, like Bluto, the U.S. economy was never in a real recovery or on “strong economic footing.” The expansion was like Enron’s profits, Madoff’s performance record, and Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles; they never existed.

Instead, what we experienced was little more than a made-for-television comedy/drama or super-hero movie. Most people were led to believe it was real as they watched. It may have even been somewhat entertaining, but it was a fabrication.

What is becoming increasingly clear, however, is that the price for our fabrications to future generations is dear. As Kalinowski properly documented, we were already in a “silent depression,” what comes next is entirely another matter.