Tags: Fed | taper | rates | savers

Fed Declares War on Savers!

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:47 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Federal Reserve just sent you a message. Did you see it?

The message was in last week's Federal Open Market Committee statement:

"The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, but it anticipates that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term."

We've always known the Fed is happy with a little inflation. Now they are more concerned about hitting their target below the bulls-eye than above it.

We also know the Fed plans to keep its "zero interest rate policy" for a long time. Last year, they said the policy would continue "until at least mid-2015." Now they tie it to a list of conditions instead of the calendar, but the bottom line is the same. Savings rates will remain invisible for at least two more years. Everything you hear about quantitative easing and "tapering" relates to long-term rates. Treasury bonds at the 10-year and longer maturities, as well as mortgage rates, are going up.

But money market funds and CD rates will stay right where they are.

Now put these pieces together. The Fed wants inflation at 2 percent. The Fed wants savings rates to be zero. In real terms, the money in your bank account doesn't earn zero. It earns less than zero as it loses purchasing power. Your real interest rate is -2 percent.

Does the Fed want us to pay bankers just for holding our money? Maybe, but they also have a larger goal. They are "encouraging" us to buy risky assets like stocks. Unfortunately, we aren't getting the message.

People have indeed pulled out of bond mutual funds and exchange-traded funds since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke first floated the stimulus program "taper" idea. But most of that money moved to cash, according to TrimTabs data.

Some obviously went into stocks, of course. That's why the Standard & Poor's 500 is at new highs. The Fed wants us to do more, hence their reminder last week that the beatings will not stop.

We know that's wrong. Eventually the beatings will stop. The question is who will move first.

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The Federal Reserve just sent you a message. Did you see it?
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:47 AM
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