Analysts are used to a business cycle ending with growing demand chasing less resources (i.e. inflation) resulting in higher interest rates, and, thus, slower growth or even recession.
Some analysts fear this process is in place, but will take a year or so to play out, provided that the Fed does not go too far, too fast.
Other analysts see no recession coming soon, or any significant slowdown at all in the near future, because their training and experience leaves them with a void in thinking. Inflation is not persistent and wages and prices (tariffs aside) may not create upward pressures enough to push the Fed onward and upward.
What these latter analysts fail to realize is that, even though GDP and earnings outlooks are solid, and inflation is low, the Fed has already made a significant dent and doesn’t need to go much higher in order to induce a slowdown. But, this an opinion; this is my opinion versus theirs’. So, let’s talk facts. On a factual basis, these analysts fail to recognize that price and/or wage inflation, or even “significant” rate hikes, do not need to occur before a slowdown can occur. In modern economies, where liquidity drives asset growth, such as trading of houses as assets, and companies use profits and debt to buy back stock instead of raising wages and creating more consumer demand, and companies use debt for acquisitions and to fund loss-leaders to gain scale- instead of for capex, any notable withdrawal of liquidity- such as we have already seen- even if such withdrawal eventually ceases (if the Fed stops hiking), is enough to sink an economy built on debt- as opposed to one that is built upon demand from growing wages, stronger consumers, and resulting higher prices by businesses with pricing power, and then higher interest rates. It just does’t work this way anymore.
Where, in the past, the withdrawal of liquidity can slow wages and prices, in the modern economy, which is a structurally weak economy, rising interest rates and removals of liquidity have a faster and deeper affect on the economy than a mere slowing of prices and wages would. Asset values and risk capital can immediately disappear as cash and bonds offer less risk with near equal returns, and as corporate and consumer debt from previously low rates and high liquidity can’t be paid back as easily, and as risk capital fast disappears because investors are not willing to buy corporate loan and debt instruments.
This is exactly what happened in 2007 and 2008. Risk capital became more costly and everyone ran for the exits on assets- because that’s where the capital flowed to.
This is why the yield curve is flattening again as the Fed remains hawkish. The yield curve is flattening because many investors believe that we are about to slow down … significantly, because liquidity is being withdrawn
The Fed has been targeting asset prices and financial instability, not wage and price growth- because there isn’t any. The Fed is getting what it wants- but it may regret what it wished for.
So, let’s talk tariffs. Higher interest rates can’t get prices lower if those higher prices are based on tariffs, rather than on demand and higher wages. So, if new tariffs are implemented, companies will earn less, or consumers will pay more, and/or demand will decline (which means companies will earn less). The Fed can’t help maintain price stability if the tariffs take hold because it’s a policy issue, not a demand issue; so, if the Fed pushes rates higher due to price inflation on consumers from tariffs, it sure would do us a world of hurt.
Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm
Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Learn more at: http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/
Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th
Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com
Caring is Free®
You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.
Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskindhelp children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal
– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm
– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving
– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/
Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.
Neil Siskind’s Government Work:
– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern
Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:
Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.
Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/
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