According to the futures market, there is a 38% chance the Federal Reserve raises rates when it meets in mid-March. If the Fed were to stand by what it has said the past several years, the odds should be much higher. But the market is used to the Fed finding reasons to put off justified rate hikes.
The biggest tax debate in Washington right now is not between Republicans and Democrats, but between Republicans and Republicans. Both sides of the debate seem to understand that the US tax code, particularly the fact that the US has the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized country, is harming the competitiveness of US companies.
The US economy has grown at an average annual rate of only 2.1% since the recovery started in mid-2009, far slower than during the economic expansions of the 1980s and 1990s.
After hiking rates in December, the chances of another rate hike from today's meeting were close to nil. But where changes, mostly modest, were made to today's statement, they point to a more hawkish stance.
The past several years have made many investors complacent about inflation. That complacency served bond bulls well.
A memorable part of President Trump's inaugural speech pointed to mothers and children trapped in poverty, rusted-out factories, a flawed school system, and crime and gangs and drugs. He described these problems as "American carnage" and stated emphatically that it "stops right here and stops right now."
Animal spirits are back!
Keynes thought a free market economy should be managed: in fact, needed to be managed. His ideas flourished in the 1930s when the US was in the Great Depression. Keynes believed that a lack of consumer demand was the culprit to economic problems and government should spend to boost jobs and economic activity.
President-elect Trump wants a Race Horse Economy, not a continuation of the Plow Horse we've had for the past several years.
We have used the metaphor of the "Plow Horse" to define the US economy since 2009 – an economy driven by new technology and entrepreneurship (fracking, the cloud, smartphones, big data...), but held back by the friction of a growing and burdensome government.