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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Strings, pushing on

Oh geez. The Fed shot its wad half way through the scene. Production on the set of Liquidity Traps #5 has ground to a halt. Gross.

For people who were awake during their introductory financial markets class, this is what the old boring person was getting at when he/she/it talked about "pushing on strings", the point at which conventional monetary becomes impotent (pff!). He then made a joke no one laughed at because we were all hungover and it wasn't funny.

Actually the effective Fed funds rate has been hovering just above zero for two months already, and we're already well into unconventional monetary policy territory. The Fed's balance sheet has exploded in size, which does matter.

But none of this means you still shouldn't pee your pants. Here's a(n) (un)helpful chart showing what the Fed is up against, comparing borrowing costs in the US with that of Japan during its embarrassing period of monetary inadequacy. If Japan was pushing on a string, the Fed is pushing on a string which will then strangle you and tie up your family.

Anyway, production of the latest Fed feature, Quantitative Easing #7, is set to begin shortly, where money will be printed and shoved in places you never thought possible.

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