Danielle DiMartino Booth, former analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has just released the book Fed Up: An Insider’s Take On Why The Federal Reserve Is Bad For America.
In it, Danielle describes how the Federal Reserve is controlled by 1,000 PhD economists and run by an unelected West Coast radical with no direct business experience. The Fed continues to enable Congress to grow our nation’s ballooning debt and avoid making hard choices, despite the high psychological and monetary costs. And our addiction to the “heroin” of low interest rates is pushing our economy towards yet another collapse.
This reckless monetary policy pursued by the Fed has resulted in the rich elite becoming markedly richer, while savers and retirees are being absolutely gutted. All while risking a coming conflagration in the bond markets that will destroy a painful percentage of the world’s financial wealth:
That’s the trillion-dollar question. We didn’t used to call it that did we? We used to call it the million-dollar question. But it’s now the trillion-dollar question. The punditry up there will tell you that The Fed has been in tightening mode since the taper began several years ago, but I say hooey to that. What we have today is absolute fungibility with central bank purchases on a global basis. You’re talking about something upwards of $200 billion every single month.
What the global bond market now revolves around, and relies upon, is the assumption that somebody somewhere will be conducting quantitative easing. As long as they do that, we’re operating in a bond market that is assuming that every single bond purchased by a central bank globally has been expired permanently.
You’re taking supply out of the system, which is the only thing that could get you to justify where bond yields are and, therefore the mirror image of that, where bond prices are, which is at record highs or close to record highs. That I think is at the crux of central bankers’ global dilemma. The first central bank that even hints that they are going to reduce the size of the balance sheet or even worse, sell off a single bond, it is game over at that point for the world bond market.
The problem with pensions is that the sins are compounding over time. They are piling up. Every single fiscal year that goes into the history books with a 6%+ gap between what was assumed versus what was returned piles on to the next year of equal, if not worse, relative underperformance.
You’re talking about having to make up for all of that lost time, but in spades — at multiples of what the current rate of return assumptions are. Going forward, on an ongoing basis for years to come. Which is highly unrealistic when you are staring down the barrel of an almost 40-year bull market in bonds and the second longest bull market in US history. The assumptions are simply Herculean in magnitude and impossible to achieve. That’s why you’re seeing rate of return assumptions begin to come down.
This is all good, fine and well until you completely square the circle and understand that every time a municipality or a state pension plan reduces their rate of return assumptions, some entity, whether it be the state, the school district, some entity has to write a bigger check in order to make up for the cash flow that is no longer being assumed in by the actuaries via rate of return investments. It doesn’t work. You can’t do it for very long when you’re not bringing money in as a state municipality.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Danielle DiMartino Booth (40m:01s).