Fear The Policy Makers

Public policy.

I am so damn tired of hearing about public policy and policy makers. I am an anxiously awaiting the day when the people of this country finally come to the realization that our Platonian philosopher kings that rule over our lives are emperors with no clothes.

These public policy makers rush to every problem, every issue, demonstrating not only their arrogance but also their ignorance with the obvious futility of their actions. This perpetual failure by our supposed betters is not limited to just one area of government, it has spread everywhere.

The U.S. Fed Reserve (image source: Getty Images)
The U.S. Fed Reserve (image source: Getty Images)

One place where I have observed policy failures over the past couple of decades would be the actions of the Federal Reserve. A white paper that was released from inside the asylum by Stephen Williamson, vice president of the St. Louis Fed shows conclusively that the Fed and their policy makers are not the all-powerful all knowing omnipotent beings that they think they are.

The paper points out that the zero interest rates that have been with us for seven years were designed supposedly to cause good inflation, actually have done the opposite. The communications strategy utilizing “forward guidance” has not reassured the public but rather just confused everyone with what most people read into as double-speak or the incoherent ramblings that sounds like the adult characters from the Peanuts cartoons. Quantitative easing that has driven the Fed’s balance sheet to heights that have exceeded $4 trillion have done next to nothing in terms of boosting the economy.

This white paper, as far as I am concerned, is worthy of a “master of the obvious award.”

Everyone should have seen this one coming. Artificial interest rates leads to mispriced assets, it leads to banks that are unwilling to lend to their traditional customers (people that want to build businesses and subsequently the country) and instead turns them into institutions that make money from moving paper from one end of the room to the other. The other beneficiary of course, is none other than the other policy makers/philosopher kings in Washington, D.C. who have been able to keep their Keynesian Ponzi scheme alive by rolling over debt and adding to it.

The sad reality of our predicament is that we have created and empowered our policy makers. We the people demand action, results, POLICY out of fear. We have an inability to deal with any sort of pain, implied or otherwise. There is nothing wrong with downturns, sell-offs, or bankruptcies. They are part of the creative destruction process that was described by Joseph Schumpeter.

I have taught that recessions are like the lymphatic system of the human body. It serves a very important service. It is there to clean out all the malfunctioning, inefficient, poorly run companies that are a threat to our economy at large. The need for assets to be priced accordingly is essential. Without the lymphatic system cleaning out the bacteria and cancerous cells, we would not be alive for too long.

The byproduct of the lymphatic system, pus; is messy and gross, yet positive and imperative in the sense that the human body is cleaning itself out. Recessions, market sell-offs and their byproducts of bankruptcies, higher unemployment and reduced growth are natural and necessary. Without them, our system does not function. The policy makers have put us into an area where we are just bouncing along with substandard growth and weak employment and wage growth.

We have become Europe.

Our policy maker/philosopher kings respond to the cries of the masses to every supposed end-of–the world crisis, (that more often than not are by their design). Their response is always NEW and IMPROVED policies, laws, rules and regulations, which inevitably compound the problem, which produce more bad policy. It is vicious downward spiral that needs to end if we want to get back to some serious growth again.

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