Thursday, April 21, 2005

Alan Greenspan raised interest rates today. Did you notice?

Talk is cheap, right?

Not when the chairman of the Federal Reserve is talking.

If he's concerned then financial markets are concerned.

If markets are concerned, then you pay the price.

What did I say?

This morning, Alan Greenspan told congress:

"The federal budget is on an unsustainable path, in which large deficits result in rising interest rates."

So, "unless major deficit-reducing actions are taken" interest rates are more likely to go up than down.

Investors got nervous, thinking this might actually signal higher interest rates (since the person talking sets the target for the overnight interest rate). They sold bonds, pushing yields higher.

As I have discussed before the bond market is what essentially sets mortgage rates. If bond yields go up then your mortgage bill goes higher too.


It's important to remember that for policymakers, words are just as important as actions. Anything they say can be taken to imply something they may do.

Markets are always thinking about the future.

If you think like the market thinks, you can avoid getting hurt by it every single day.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's the stupid Economy!

It's very easy to criticize other people.

It's extremely easy to criticize economists.

These dismal scientists are given the thankless task by government to solve problems for which there are a number of different solutions, each with different costs associated with them.

Every solution will come with a cost.

No pain, no gain.


Some economists including, Friedrich August von Hayek , believe that government is the problem.

This is a very convincing argument given the history of evidence stacked against government policies over the recent past.

It seems as if every time the government tries to fix a problem they create another, larger problem in the process.


Of course, different views on any subject represent different parts of the political spectrum, so none will provide the kind of balanced judgement that might convince everyone.

In the current political system, it is only the majority of the voting public that needs to be convinced (every 4 years) in order to choose between (usually 2) competing (and often extreme) alternatives.