Let us explain the problem or rather challenge of choosing between Quantitative Easing (QE) and an Interest Rate reduction to stimulate economic activity, with reference to the Bell Curve diagramme above:
There are two major factors at play here:
With a bout of QE, the effect feeds into the margins of theBellcurve and it takes time for the distribution network (money supply chain) to filter the new enhanced supply into the economy at large. So there is both a distribution and time lag effect with QE.
On the other hand, with an immediate Interest Rate reduction, the effect is to cover the larger middle ground of the Bellc urve more instantly. Yes, it does depend on your wealth and debt holder structure too, but both borrowers and savers feel the effect more immediately.
But, with Interest Rates currently so low, this option is not really that feasible. With inflation running at between 2 – 5% depending on which side of the pond you are, effectively savers are paying an additional ‘tax contribution’ to the Treasury by this stealth means.
Never resist the temptation to start a discussion with a pun.
In our previous article we highlighted the ‘battle royal’ on Capitol Hill to get a proposal agreed to address the possibility of a US Treasury default, whether actual or technical on or after 2 August 2011.
There is obviously a lot of back room dealing going on over this and analysts in Europe (taking their beading eyes off the Greek and now Italian and Spanish dominoes) have started to pay attention to the goings on across the pond. We heard one commentator mention the fact that the USA’ reputation has already been affected by this, irrespective of the fact that a default occurs or not.
So there you go. The fringe minority floating in the ‘Tea’ cup with a lack of the ability to look over the brim of that particular cup, might in fact achieve their overall objective of raising their own profiles, albeit at the expense of the nation’s reputation and standing as a pillar of the international capital market.
Look, we are not choosing sides here, because at the heart of the matter is the fundamental principles of civil society versus the public sphere debate raging and continuing to rage in the USA.
In our next article we will highlight some of the basic differences in opinion and views on the size and influence of government in the USA versus Europe, via the Rahn curve analysis.
Until then, it is tick, tock; tick, tock whilst we await the vote and subsequent consequences and fall-out from the US debt ceiling debate.
We are so very, very close to seeing and experiencing another colossal collapse in confidence in the world’s financial system.
This time it is driven by the ‘US Debt Ceiling impasse’. A steady flight to gold has been taking place over the past few months and even though most informed commentators believe the US Treasury ‘default scenario’ is not likely to physically occur, the mere threat of a default has not yet managed to ‘focus the minds’ of the US congress house of representatives locked in an ideological battle over fundamental economic policy and direction.
At stake here is a scenario that will make the 2008 financial crisis wane into insignificance, should the threat of a US Treasuries default actually play out.
If a default actually occurs, confidence in the international capital and currency markets will have been breached and no serious commentator has yet fully quantified or effectively mapped out the potential consequences of this potentially disastrous collapse in capital market confidence.
The only significant contribution we can make at this publication is to cross our fingers, hold as much in cash and liquid (non US dollar) assets and hope that some real focus and a meeting of minds occurs before Tuesday 2 August 2011 on Capitol Hill.