Why The U.S. Fed’s 0.50% Rate Cut Won’t Save The U.S. Markets
by J.S. Kim
“Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights” – Alan Greenspan, 1966, more than 20 years before he served as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve from 1987-2006. Obviously, Alan Greenspan’s feelings regarding deficit spending experienced a 180º reversal once he became the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman. However, one only need to understand the truth in that comment to understand where your money should be invested and why this mini-rally in global markets spurred by the Fed’s decision to cut the Federal Funds rate by 0.50%, even if it should extend into a larger rally, should cause you to be scared, and very scared at that.
Overshadowed by the Fed’s decision to cut interest rates and the subsequent rally in global s tock markets was a much more critical story. U.S. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson recently urged Congress to raise the national debt ceiling, stating that the U.S. would reach the current national debt ceiling by October 1st. More… Such a decision to raise the ceiling from $8.965 trillion to $9.82 trillion, besides preventing the U.S. Government from defaulting on U.S. Treasury bonds, is necessary to retain international confidence in the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. So far the U.S House of Representatives has approved the increase in the debt ceiling, but the U.S. Senate has yet to climb on board. A simple way to keep the U.S. national debt down would be to simply manipulate the inputs that contribute to national debt figures as is already done, but that is another story for a different day. Most Americans, not to mention foreigners, are oblivious to the fact that this increase in the national debt ceiling is the fifth such raise since President Bush took office in 2001.
Obviously, the U.S. government has engaged in massive deficit spending over the past several years. Remember how I started this blog today. What is deficit spending? In case you’ve forgotten already, I’ll re-state the opening quote of this blog. According to none other than our former Federal Reserve Chairman, deficit spending “is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.” Certainly, confiscation of wealth happens through the destruction of purchasing power parity of fiat currency, namely the U.S. dollar, but the greatest confiscation of wealth has yet to happen. That will occur when the Peak Investment Crisis hits. But it’s coming. I can assure you of that.
As far as Alan Greenspan’s recent sharp criticism of President Bushs’s fiscal irresponsibility and ineptitude in managing the national deficit, I had to laugh at the duplicity of those criticisms. Alan Greenspan created, by and large, all the problems that current U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has inherited. Sure, the President and U.S. Congress, not Greenspan, set the national budget every year, but Greenspan’s actions as Federal Reserve Chairman to establish international confidence in the U.S. dollar as the “de facto” global currency even when the dollar continued to be backed by nothing were largely responsible for the dire situation the dollar faces today. The U.S. dollar has gone from being backed by gold, then oil, then the U.S. military. Gold is probably the most misunderstood investment asset class due to great short-term volatility in the price of the underlying commodity and gold stocks. However, if you understand the root causes of the volatility, you can use the volatility to help, instead of hurt, your returns. Some short-term volatility most likely is caused by Central Bank manipulation of prices, a theory that used to be generally relegated to conspiracy theorists, but now even advanced by U.S. Senators such as Ron Paul. However, there are many other factors that cause wild fluctuations in the price of gold in the short term yet never influence its long-term luster and shine.
Furthermore, although Bush has been widely criticized for allowing the national debt grow from 57% of GDP to 70% of GDP, if I recall correctly, under Reagan, national debt as a percent of GDP grew from 32% to 52%. The point is this. I am no fan of President Bush, but Bush didn’t create this whole national debt and currency fiasco that exists today all by himself. All the interest rate cuts in the world can’t solve the problems created by decades of poor risk management, loose credit, irresponsible money supply expansion and a stock market that has risen over the past year on the churning engines of debt expansion.
That’s why when housing stocks continued to rise last week and were beneficiaries of the “a rising tide lifts all boats” theory, I established puts on some housing stocks. Any continuing rise in the share price of financial institutions with heavy exposure to subprime mortgages also offer fine opportunities to establish puts as well. The general investing public may be fooled by the interest rate cuts, but not me. I know that in the end, the house of cards will all come tumbling down.
Finally, back on March 3, 2007, the following was reported: “The states would only change the dollar peg simultaneously, U.A.E. Central Bank Governor Sultan Bin Nasser al-Suwaidi told reporters today. The six countries form the Gulf Cooperation Council and their central bank officials meet next in April. The other countries are Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. “‘We will not act unilaterally,’ al-Suwaidi said in Dubai, U.A.E.”
Not even three weeks later after this coalition of Middle Eastern countries announced their commitment to the dollar, as we reported on our blog, “The Underground Investor”, Kuwait defied this pledge and unpegged its currency from the dollar. Kuwait inferred that pegging its currency to the weak dollar was causing unnecessary inflation. Now, this week, speculation runs rampant that Saudi Arabia is to follow in Kuwait’s footsteps as it failed to take action on the U.S. Fed’s interest rate cut this past September 18th. The cracks keep coming. If you want to avoid disaster in the stock markets, the time to start planning is now.
J.S. Kim is the founder and Managing Director of SmartKnowledgeU™, LLC,an online investment education program based upon Blue Ocean proprietary investment strategies, an investment newsletter service, and a Wealth Literacy program for young adults.