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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mish's questions for the Cleveland Fed

Inflation Expectation Questions For Joseph G. Haubrich

1. When was the last time you bought a computer? Did you expect prices to drop? Did you buy a computer anyway?

2. When was the last time you bought a flat panel monitor or TV? Did you expect prices to drop? Did you buy them anyway?

3. If you expected the price of steaks to keep rising, would you buy a years’ worth? Six months worth? Do you even have a freezer?

4. If you expected the price of milk to keep rising, how much supply would you keep?

5. Do you have a storage tank for gasoline when you expect gas prices to keep rising?

6. If your refrigerator was in good shape would you buy another one if you thought they were going up in price.

7. If your refrigerator, microwave, TV, or even car went out, would you buy them or wait if you thought prices would drop?

8. I keep hearing how inflation expectations will cause people to buy consumer items, or deflation concerns cause people to not buy consumer items, but in light of the above practical test questions doesn’t that seem to be a potty notion?

9. What about asset prices? Would people buy stocks if they thought they were going up? Houses? This one I will answer for you (you bet).

10. Does the Fed factor in asset prices into its inflation expectations? If so how? Did not the Fed completely ignore a housing bubble? In fact, isn’t it true the Fed could not see a housing bubble that 100 housing blogs could see?

11. Given that the Fed ignores asset bubbles, commodity speculation, etc (the only areas in which people actually do things simply because they expect prices to rise or fall) while focusing on consumer price expectations that have no bearing on what people do, doesn’t the Fed have its inflation policy ass backwards?

12. Isn’t it silly to actually think inflation expectations 30 years out matter one iota?

13. Given that the Fed has blown bubble after bubble of increasing amplitude, ignoring the problems until they blew up in the Fed’s face, with Bernanke denying there was a housing bubble, then denying there would be a recession, then coming up with preposterous unemployment expectations, pray tell exactly why should anyone believe the Fed can model inflation expectations or even inflation as it is actually happening?

14. If the Fed thinks that market expectations are important, why not simply let the market set interest rates?

15. How could letting the market set rates possibly be any worse than the repetitive bubbles the Fed blew under Greenspan and Bernanke?

16. Pray tell of what use is the Fed other than to bail out banks when they get in trouble? And of what use is that to anyone but the banks?

17. I would appreciate your comments on The Fed Uncertainty Principle, written Thursday, April 03, 2008, before the massive bailouts occurred.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how they are answered...