Interesting Readings for February 8, 2010

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Danny Tarkanian’s Statement

This doesn’t represent an endorsement by me of Danny Tarkanian nor an endorsement of me by Danny Tarkanian. I invite all candidates to submit a position statement on this issue because I feel it is important.  So far, Team Tark is the only campaign that has responded to my invitation. Below is a statement from U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian:

Congressional spending and Federal Reserve policy have teamed up to lock the U.S. economy into a downward cycle that may lead to catastrophic failure if left unchecked. Both Congress and the Federal Reserve have taken reckless abandon in their recent attempts to insert the federal government as a solution to the country´s economic woes. Rapid response and common sense solutions are required to counteract these irresponsible practices.

With the increase in federal spending, and the latest passage of a debt ceiling increase by Congress and subsequent signing into law by the White House, interest in investing in U.S. Government securities, like treasury bills, has begun to decline. The increase in deficit spending has created a growing loss of confidence in the government´s ability to repay its loans and threats from credit rating agencies of a potential downgrading of the US’s credit rating. As interest in the bond market decreases, interest rates on bonds automatically increase creating a higher cost to the U.S. government to sell its debt.

The Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy to finance deficits and suppress interest rates indirectly contributes to what is known as the “carry trade” against the U.S. dollar. By borrowing dollars on the assumption that the dollar will decline and then using them to buy commodities, investors reap higher profits when paying back the initially borrowed dollars. With the continued decline in value of the dollar, the incentive to use the carry trade is increased which leads to a growth in speculation that the dollar will continue to be devalued.

Separately, the Federal Reserve is essentially subsidizing financial institutions by setting the benchmark interest rate at 0%. This initially spurred an increase in financial institution investment in treasury bills to shore up their balance sheets – a practice that served as probably the most under the radar bailout packages in federal government history. The ability of financial institutions to take Federal Reserve dollars at 0% interest and invest them in federal treasury notes with a set interest rate, essentially meant that the federal government was simply handing the financial institutions an allowance (or bailout). The Federal Reserve paying interest on bank reserves is not a solution. Not only is borrowing nearly free money from the Fed to then loan funds back to the Fed at a higher rate immoral, this will force up interest rates on treasuries which, ironically, present policy is trying to prevent.

In the case of a 30 year bond, this was 4.7% as of 1/6/09. Whether by design or by accident, this will serve as a creative federal subsidy until, due to a climbing deficit and reduced faith in the government´s credit, these institutions find it too risky to invest in treasury bills and look elsewhere, or the Fed is forced to raise interest rates due to concerns about creating an artificial bubble for the financial industry, or in housing.  Either that, or the Federal Reserve will displace the market and become the exclusive buyer of treasuries.

The irresponsible lending practices of the Federal Reserve and the reckless spending levels of Congress will inflict greater damage than the country would have felt had the housing and financial institutions been allowed to find equilibrium on their own in the first place. The involvement of the federal government hasn´t saved the U.S. economy; it has simply prolonged and likely worsened the pain of the eventual economic reset. A structurally sound financial system shouldn’t need bailouts or rescues. Swift and steady action is required to help brace the country for a potentially worse decline.

Federal spending must be checked and reversed, including a plan to permanently eliminate the deficit and restore faith in the U.S. government´s credit, thus re-establishing confidence in the bond market. The Federal Reserve must also seek to raise interest rates to prevent inflation and offset any potential asset bubble bursting created as a result of the recent 0% interest rate. Entitlement spending must be decreased and non-essential programs phased out in order to help lessen the strain on the federal budget. All of these actions are necessary now to help soften, and potentially prevent, a predicted economic decline within the next 10-20 years.

Danny Tarkanian
Republican Candidate for the United States Senate

Here is a very good recent article that dovetails with this issue: Watchdog: Bailouts created more risk in system

What Could Go Wrong if Petroleum Product Prices are Decontrolled?

I have an article in Financial Express on this today.

Your Uplfiting Monday Message

From Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy, the State:

What we and our more nearly immediate descendants shall see is a steady progress in collectivism running off into military despotism of a severe type.  Closer centralization; a steadily growing bureaucracy; State power and faith in State power increasing, social power and faith in social power diminishing; the State absorbing a continually larger proportion of national income; production languishing, the State in consequence taking over one “essential industry” after another, managing them with ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency and prodigality, and finally resorting to a system of forced labour.  Then at some point in this progress, a collision of State interests…will result in an industrial and financial dislocation too severe for the asthenic social structure to bear; and from this the State will be left to “the rusty death of machinery,” and the casual anonymous forces of dissolution will be supreme.

We’ve survived 75 years since this was written back in 1935 when lovers of liberty already thought we were doomed.  Are we too far down the road to serfdom or can we still reclaim our nation?