Peter Schiff On Fed Rate Cuts

Peter Schiff is right on in his analysis of the Fed rate cut in his latest weekly column. A few excerpts:

"Coming at a time when rate increases were needed to combat the sinking dollar and surging gold, oil and other commodity prices, Ben Bernanke’s 50 basis point cuts in the Fed funds and discount rates this week may go down as the most irresponsible move in Fed history....

....Wall Street bulls have heaped praise on the Fed, at times calling the rate cuts courageous and brilliant. From their response, you would have thought that Bernanke’s solution was akin to Einstein’s breakthroughs on relativity. In the first place, what is so brilliant about cutting rates? My five year old could do it and would gladly accept payment for his service in popsicles.

Furthermore, a fifty basis point cut was not an act of bravery but one of cowardice. The brave thing to do would have been to raise rates and allow market forces to purge the economy of the imbalances built up during the Greenspan bubbles. It would have taken some real courage to level with the American public and let them know that our profligacy has consequences, rather than pretending it can ride to the rescue with a wave of its magic wand and a crank of the printing press....

..Bernanke’s attempt to circumvent the free market forces that are bringing on a long overdo recession (which is necessary to purge our economy of unsustainable imbalances) will lead to an even greater disaster. Make no mistake about it; had the Fed done nothing, or raised rates as I would have preferred, the economy would have clearly tipped toward a severe recession. However, by “coming to the rescue” with rate cuts, the Fed assures us that we will experience something far worse.

Again, the coming recession is not the problem but the solution. Painful as it will be, a recession is the only way to cure our sick economy and we will need to grin and bear it. When it ends, our nation will be a lot poorer, but at least we will be clawing our way out of this gigantic hole. Cutting rates now only assures that we will dig ourselves into an even deeper hole. In the end, it will be that much harder for us to get out, and we will be that much worse off when we finally do.

Although they may slow the process down for a few quarters, the rate cuts will neither prevent the recession nor keep house prices from collapsing. But they will cost us dearly. The dollar’s fall, which had been held somewhat in check by the possibility of a hawkish Fed, has accelerated in earnest now that the curtain has been pulled back.

Unlike previous bouts of Fed easing, this time any additional liquidity will not artificially pump up the economy or the housing market, but merely accelerate the rise in consumer prices and eventually push up long-term interest rates as well.Bernanke’s attempt to circumvent the free market forces that are bringing on a long overdo recession (which is necessary to purge our economy of unsustainable imbalances) will lead to an even greater disaster. Make no mistake about it; had the Fed done nothing, or raised rates as I would have preferred, the economy would have clearly tipped toward a severe recession. However, by “coming to the rescue” with rate cuts, the Fed assures us that we will experience something far worse."

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