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IPFS News Link • Economy - Economics USA

David Stockman on the Continual Rise in the Cost of Living… And Why the Fed has No Shame

•, by David Stockman

Markets recovered their poise over the last 24 hours, as investors were relieved after Fed Chair Powell stuck to his recent views on the economic outlook. In his remarks yesterday, he said that recent data didn't "materially change the overall picture" and that on inflation "it is too soon to say whether the recent readings represent more than just a bump." In addition, he reiterated that if "the economy evolves broadly as we expect, most FOMC participants see it as likely to be appropriate to begin lowering the policy rate at some point this year." So that all helped to validate market pricing, which still expects 71 bps of rate cuts from the Fed by the December meeting.

Needless to say, the man has no shame. And that's to say nothing of intellectual firepower. There is not even a smidgen of a case that rate cuts in the present context will help main street, and the Fed heads and their Wall Street megaphones don't actually even try to make that argument.

Instead, they argue for rates cuts by default. If by some tortured version of the CPI (i.e. the "supercore" index, which eliminates 61% of the CPI items by weight) they can espy the in-coming inflation trend settling into a liberally defined vicinity of 2.00%, that's purportedly good enough to end the money-printing pause that has been in place since March 2022. Thereafter, it's back to business as usual, flooding the canyons of Wall Street with cheap credit and a new burst of financial asset inflation.

Never mind that in this particular inflation-cycle, the general price level is up by 28% since January 2017 and that tens of millions of households and businesses have been badly damaged, even as others harvested windfall gains. When it comes to inflation and all the other so-called macroeconomic metrics on their dashboards, past history–even the recent past—is dead to the Fed heads.

Instead, it's all about the current and especially the prospective rate of change as embodied in the silly "dot-plots" they gurgle around in their brains and update four times per year.

And we do mean silly. After all, if the consensus of the 19 geniuses who participate in the dot-plot guessing game espies say a 2.27% gain in the supercore index over the next year, so what?!