by Brandon Smith
It is undeniable that America is thoroughly addicted to fiat stimulus. Every aspect of our economy, from stocks, to bonds, to banks, and by indirect extension main street, is now utterly dependent on the continued 24/7 currency creation bonanza. The stock market no longer rallies to the tune of increased retail sales, growing export markets or improved employment expectations. In fact, “good” economic news today is met with panic and market sell-offs! Why? Because investors and banks still playing equities understand full well that any sign of fiscal improvement might mean the end of the private Federal Reserve’s QE pajama party. They know that without the Fed’s opiate-laced lifeline, the economy dies a fast and painful death.
All mainstream economic news currently revolves around the Fed, as pundits clamor to divine whether the latest signals mean the free money will flow, trickle, or dry up.
Most expect the central bank to make an announcement today on the details of its reduction in stimulus initiatives. Generally, the Fed does not have a tendency to slip information to the media on the possibility of a policy change unless they plan to follow through. Every bailout and QE announcement over the course of the past five years has been preceded by weeks and even months of “rumors” acclimating the mainstream and the markets to the idea of each action long before it was ever implemented. If the Fed avoids clarity on the taper in the coming week, I expect that they will still assert stimulus cuts before the end of this year.
Certain developments, though, are giving false hope to the markets that the stimulus fantasy will go on forever. The resignation of Larry Summers from the “running” for Fed Chairman (as if Obama isn’t being told exactly who he is to pick for the position) has so far put a dash of cheer into the Dow Jones. Strangely, investors seem to believe that without Summers, continued quantitative easing is assured. The reality is that the decision to cut stimulus has likely already been long established and the face of the new chairman will have little relevance.