Friday, June 8, 2018

The Globalized Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three...

The protesters are out in force this weekend, as what remains of the G8 country club attempts to cobble together a narrative that explains away global disintegration. Russia was evicted in 2014 after the Crimean invasion. Britain is sorting out Brexit. Italy has one foot out the door, and this weekend Trump is staying in Canada long enough to hit Tim Horton's drive-through and back. Globalization effectively ended in 2008, and what has followed is a fiscal and monetary gong show on a scale that would make the Japanese blush. One thing the G7 all have in common - they couldn't care less what is happening to the rest of the world...

Were Trump really serious about ending 70 years of U.S.-led economic exploitation at home and abroad, I would be right in his corner. Alas, just as others have seen through his gimmickry, the "I want my cake and eat it too" approach to deconstructing the global Jenga pile is a tad too plainly Trumptonian. The mere fact that he's stacked his cabinet with Goldman Sachs alumni is testament to his betrayal of stated values - a now long-standing Republican Party tradition. He must make a clear choice between the country or the multinational-controlled stock market. Meaning he has to put the 99% ahead of the 1%. The fact that he is in the 1%, makes that Twitter-assisted fantasy quintessentially impossible. Sorry Steve Bannon.

Now, of these remaining G6 members, they didn't mind so much Uncle Sam carpet bombing Vietnam for ten years straight. Nor did they object to the invasion of Iraq on false pretense. No, instead it was Russian push-back on NATO empire expansion, and Iranian aspirations for self-defense that gained their opprobrium. Why? Because these vassal states were no more than an extension of the Empire all along. And now that it's disintegrating they are learning the harsh lesson in the costs of obsequience to an out-of-control hegemon. Too bad. Trudeau is roughly half the man his father was, and even his old man rolled over when the elephant was in bed with the mouse. The mandarins in Ottawa are outraged at the fate they have brought upon themselves.

This week, Anthony Bourdain bit the bullet. Who had it better than that guy? For survival sake, I've stopped worrying about anyone my age (50) and older. This needs to be about the young people now, not wistful crotch grabbers, outraged that their pussy grabbing "rights" are under attack.

Getting back to my rightful subject, connecting the assiduously ignored dots, the Fed now has a quadruple mandate. Which is wholly impossible to attain. They started with a single mandate to maintain price stability. Somewhere along the line they added full employment. Under Greenspan they added casino management. Under Yellen they added global casino management. Something had to go under the bus, and we know what it is...

"Governor Lael Brainard, mentioned emerging markets in a May 31 speech, but spent far more time discussing the upside risks posed by fiscal stimulus"

“The Fed’s got to move...over time, are we going to serve the global economy well by not responding to inflation?”

There have been occasions in the past when the Fed has paused in response to international developments. In 1998, for example, Greenspan cut interest rates warning:

"it is just not credible” that the U.S. remain “an oasis of prosperity”

“'Greenspan was wrong [to support global markets], the bubble in technology stocks eventually burst at high cost to the U.S. economy'

Greenspan wasn't wrong, he had an impossible choice to make. Just as today's Fed has a much harder choice to make. In summary, it's Y2K versus 1997. Choose a loser.

HINT: It is just not credible that the U.S. remain an oasis of prosperity