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Rampant Inflation


The Fed members must understand the real problem. The problem is dire.


Why would the Federal Reserve minutes show concern for inflation? Consumer prices certainly seem under control (although I can argue that the BLS measure of that is flawed). The reason is most people have a misconception of what inflation is. The Fed members must understand the real problem. The problem is dire.

Inflation is the growth in money and credit and it is growing like a weed. The Fed stopped publishing M3, the broadest measure of this money, so most don't even talk about this troublesome statistic. It's clearly growing much faster than nominal GDP and illustrates the devastating nature of the Fed's policies.

If you reconstruct M3 it is currently growing at around 12-13%, a level which has rarely been seen, a level way above average and one that is ultimately deflationary (at some point it will get so large that it must be paid back or defaulted on).

The U.S. saw a total of $4 trillion in new credit created last year. All that money you see out there has been borrowed.

Normally all that money would go to bid up consumer prices. It is not because of the U.S.' sickness.

All that free money (first fostered by Japan's ridiculously low interest rates, a rate that was just raised yesterday because it is clearly causing malinvestment) combined with globalization has created overcapacity. The latest capacity numbers show it now falling from already below average numbers. The U.S. has too much production in the world so producers can't increase prices. The U.S. has too many houses so the prices are beginning to fall. The U.S. has too much commercial real estate so REIT stocks are showing severe weakness. The U.S. made too many risky loans so the subprime mortgage market is falling apart. The U.S. has too many strip malls so the countryside is getting ugly.

All that borrowed money is now going into speculation because there is nothing left to build. It is going into stock prices, gold, commodities as the last flushes before the market says "we can't take anymore debt." Total U.S. debt is 3.5 times GDP, a level never seen before. The second highest level was 2.9 times in 1929. Total U.S. financial debt (excludes consumer debt) is 2.1 times GDP, the highest ever and up from one time in 1987.

The timing is uncertain, but logic tells us that this must end.

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