Monday, June 22, 2015

Peter Schiff says the Fed will not raise rates

The last attempt made by the Fed to raise rates gradually occurred after 2003-2004 when Alan Greenspan had attempted to withdraw the easy liquidity that he had supplied to the markets in the form of more than one years’ worth of 1% interest rates. But by raising rates in quarter point increments for the succeeding two years, Greenspan was unable to get in front of and contain the growing housing bubble, which burst a few years later and threatened to bring down the entire economy. In retrospect, Greenspan may have done us all a favor if he had moved more decisively.

Today, we face a similar but far more dangerous prospect. Whereas Greenspan kept rates at 1% for only a year, Bernanke and Yellen have kept them at zero for almost seven years. We have pumped in massively more liquidity this time around, and our economy has become that much more addicted and unbalanced as a result. Arguably, the bubbles we have created (in stocks, bonds, student debt, auto loans, and real estate) in the years since rates were cut to zero in 2008 have been far larger than the stock and housing bubbles of the Greenspan era. When they pop, look out below. Unfortunately, the gradual approach did not save us last time (worse, it backfired by making the ensuing crisis that much worse), and I believe it won’t work this time.   

In fact, the current bubbles are so large and fragile that air is already coming out with rates still locked at zero. However, unlike prior bubbles that pricked in response to Fed rate hikes, the current bubble may be the first to burst without a pin. It appears the Fed fears this and will do everything it can to avoid any possible stress. That is why Fed officials will talk about raising rates, but keep coming up with excuses why they can’t.   

Peter Schiff is a smart investor and author of several best selling books. He correctly predicted the economic meltdown of 2008 - 2009