Tags: Christopher Whalen | Debt | Federal Reserve | Danger

Christopher Whalen: Fed Has 'Deliberate Blind Spot' on Debt

Friday, 12 June 2015 12:46 PM

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President Jim Bullard admitted last month that the Fed has just begun to focus on the economic impact of structural problems in the credit markets, and that's a problem, says Christopher Whalen, head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

"The takeaway for us all should be that there is a deliberate blind spot regarding the role of debt in current thinking on monetary policy," he writes in The National Interest.

U.S. government debt totals about $18 trillion, compared to GDP of about $17.5 trillion.

"Fed officials think — or at least pretend — that we can restore growth and market stability merely by keeping interest rates artificially low, but life in the real world is a little more complicated," Whalen maintains.

The Fed has kept its federal funds rate target at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent for 6 ½ years, and isn't expected to raise rates until at least September.

"Only when policy makers around the world accept and act upon the fact of excessive debt as an obstacle to full recovery will the growth prospects for the global economy improve," Whalen says.

Meanwhile, though the biggest developed economies may be rebounding, multiple dangers remain, meaning central banks must maintain their monetary to stimulus, according to an editorial in The Economist.

"Gazing across the battered economies of the rich world it is time to declare that the fight against financial chaos and deflation is won," the editors write. In the United States, the economy grew 2.4 percent last year, and many analysts expect similar growth this year.

"However, the global economy still faces all manner of hazards, from the Greek debt saga to China’s shaky markets," the editorial notes. "Few economies have ever gone as long as a decade without tipping into recession." The U.S.' Great Recession ended in 2009.

"Sooner or later, policymakers will face another downturn," the editorial explains.

"The danger is that, having used up their arsenal, governments and central banks will not have the ammunition to fight the next recession. Paradoxically, reducing that risk requires a willingness to keep policy looser for longer today."

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St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President Jim Bullard admitted last month that the Fed has just begun to focus on the economic impact of structural problems in the credit markets, and that's a problem, says Christopher Whalen, head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency.
Christopher Whalen, Debt, Federal Reserve, Danger
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2015-46-12
Friday, 12 June 2015 12:46 PM
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