Wall Street will have to continue dreaming of more easy money. That’s because Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said no mas
to further easing, at least for now.
Bernanke indicated it would be a topic of discussion at a two-day Fed meeting in September.
Why? Mostly because inflation rates have ticked up, and the Fed’s biggest fear is deflation. The Fed will do anything to stop deflation, out of fear that falling prices will lead to an economic collapse. The Fed doesn’t mind moderate amounts of inflation, which we’re currently seeing right now.
The Fed’s “wait and see” policy makes sense: Over the past two and a half years, Fed easing has done little to stimulate economic growth.
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Unemployment still hovers near double-digits. Some argue that the Fed has made the problem worse by hitting the poor and middle class with rising food and gas prices at the worst possible time.
That’s why the Fed is taking a backseat. It’s now time for fiscal, not monetary policy, to get the economy moving again. In other words, Bernanke is passing the buck to President Barack Obama.
So what can Obama do? For starters, Obama should make a complete 180-degree turn from everything he’s done so far. He must stop antagonizing businesses with new regulations (Obamacare) and frivolous lawsuits (such as the Justice Department’s harassment of Boeing for opening a new plant in a right-to-work state). These policies create uncertainty among businesses and encourage them to hoard cash and wait, rather than expand and grow now.
Obama can stop signing legislation that continues to “extend and pretend” that things aren’t as bad as they seem. He can instruct courts to follow the rule of law. That’s critically important to get the mortgage mess cleaned up. That’s because mortgages weren’t listed with country recorders as required by law during the housing boom.
Instead, they were recorded by an electronic system (MERS) in order to make it easier to securitize loans.
In short, Obama could do wonders for the economy if he stopped creating uncertainty. Such actions would give the private sector the leeway to get out of the mess we’re in.
Those are just the fixes that don’t increase government spending. But as I wrote last week
, getting more Americans back to work is the best stimulus out there. It allows the government to cut back on spending while gaining more in income tax revenue from the newly employed.
The best part is, none of these changes require more government spending. That’s a far cry from most of Obama’s proposals, which involve spending even more money America doesn’t have.
As for investors, Obama’s anti-business crusade and current economic data suggest that a year from now we’ll recognize that we started slipping back into a recession. Plan your financial defense accordingly.
Obama is set to announce a new job plan after Labor Day. Let’s hope he embraces the changes he needs to get America growing again.
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