You’ve got to hand it to MSNBC. It takes a lot of moxie to look at an economy shedding jobs, with unemployment and interest rates rising, and come up with the headline: “Evidence mounts that recession may be ending.”
In March 2008, I attended a panel discussion where an economist for a private investment firm explained that rising bankruptcy rates pointed toward an impending financial crisis — which was exactly what happened six months later. At last night’s annual gala for the America’s Future Foundation, I ran into the same economist, who shook his head and said of the current policy, “They’re trying to re-inflate the bubble!”
Ultimately, however, this policy will yield higher interest rates or inflation, or perhaps both. The Wall Street Journal explains what’s happening:
Bond markets continued to gyrate Thursday after a sharp run-up in 10-year Treasury yields the day before. The bond market pushed yields of 10-year Treasurys down to 3.674% from 3.70% Wednesday, but they remain well over mid-March’s 2.5% level. Yields on mortgage-backed securities continued to climb, pushing 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to 5.44%, the highest since early February.
The Fed has embarked on a massive effort in recent months to buy Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, a bid to drive up their prices and push down yields. It aims to keep borrowing costs low, hoping cheap mortgages in particular will spur the still-weak economy. . . .
So far, the Fed has purchased $130.5 billion of the $300 billion in long-term Treasury debt it began buying in March. It also has bought $481 billion in mortgage-backed securities and has said it could buy as much as $1.25 trillion worth.
In other words, the monetary dog is chasing its fiscal tail — a can’t-miss formula for stagflation. Pity the investor who is foolish enough to rely on MSNBC to stay informed about economic news.