Tuesday, July 22, 2014 07:38pm
North Adams, MA now: 82 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Power Shifts from Wall St. to Washington
By Bill Schmick On: 05:01PM / Thursday September 20, 2012
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0
Years ago, it was our captains of industry who commanded the world's attention. More recently, the spotlight of power was centered on Wall Street's banks and brokers until 2008. Today, however, the heads of government and central banks are the market movers.

The financial crisis of 2008-2009 turned the economy and the private sector on its head. Hobbled by the largest crisis in generations, Wall Street was drowning. With the banking sector about to implode, the Street had no choice but to ask the U.S. Treasury for an unprecedented bailout. As one corporation after another (think the auto industry) faced the threat of bankruptcy, the center of financial decision making shifted to Washington, D.C. It remains there today.

Government's role in the economy is nothing new. For many years it has guided the overall pace of economic activity, attempting to maintain steady growth, high levels of employment and price stability. For decades after the Depression of the 1930s, it relied a great deal on fiscal policy to combat the recurring recessions the nation faced.

During the 1960s, the heyday of fiscal policy, the president and Congress played a leading role in directing the economy. However, ideas about the best tools for stabilizing the economy changed after that as a period of high inflation, high unemployment and huge government deficits undermined the country’s faith in fiscal policy. Enter monetary policy (the control of the nation’s money supply) administered by the Federal Reserve Bank and its tools of interest rate manipulation.

In the midst of the panic of 2008-2009, as giant banks went broke and insurance companies teetered on the edge, the government was firing both monetary and fiscal barrels at the problem. The combined policies worked in the sense of staving off a worldwide financial meltdown and another Great Depression. Since 2008, however, because of partisan politics, fiscal policy has fallen by the wayside. Today only the monetary policy option remains to prevent another recession.

In this election year, opposing forces are criticizing the Fed for doing too much or too little to grow the economy. Conservatives say the Fed is creating inflation down the road by its stimulus policies while driving down the value of the dollar. Some have actually accused the Fed of treason in even considering further quantitative easing. Liberals have argued the opposite: criticizing the Fed for being overly worried about inflation and not doing enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Since 2007, the Fed has been engaged in a historical and largely uncharted area of economic manipulation that transcends anything attempted in our country's past. They have been at the center of propping up or selling huge institutions, making loans to banks and others in entirely new and radical ways and buying upward of $2 trillion in government debt and mortgage-backed securities. There is no question that the Federal Reserve Bank, in my opinion, has assumed the throne of financial power in this country by default.

Its power, unlike the private sector, is concentrated in a handful of individuals with considerable independence from the President and the Congress. Both the President and the Congress have all but abdicated their own power to control the economy if not in words, certainly by their actions. The polarization of both parties since the 2008 elections has made fiscal policy initiatives impossible.

The Federal Reserve Bank, through its chairman Ben Bernanke, has on numerous occasions begged the president and both parties to at least share the power via new fiscal policy initiatives. To date that call has been rejected in the name of politics. In my next column I will examine just how big the government has grown as a percentage of GDP and how power could become even more concentrated within our nation's capital in the months and years to come.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.





0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Rivera Has Hopes for Broadway After WTF 'Visit'
Berkshire Museum To Host Smithsonian Spark!Lab
Space Is Top Concern In Picking Pittsfield School Building Project
Adams Selectmen Put Residency Requirement in Administrator Ad
Major Demolition Nearly Complete for North Adams School Project
Nolan Strong, But Post 68 Loses in Legion Final
North Adams Second-Graders Drilled in Emergency Skills
Greylock Donates $5,000 to Northern Berkshire YMCA Sports Camp Program
Kimball Farms Earns Fourth Perfect Survey
WES Appoints Six New Faculty Members
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (140)
Independent Investor (190)
Archives:
July 2014 (2)
July 2013 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
September 2013 (6)
August 2013 (8)
Tags:
Housing Europe Markets Commodities Currency Debt Federal Reserve Oil Banks Metals Election Stocks Selloff Economy Jobs Interest Rates Retirement Stock Market Japan Europe Recession Crisis Congress Deficit Greece Pullback Euro Energy Fed Bailout Debt Ceiling Rally Stimulus Fiscal Cliff Taxes
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
The Independent Investor: How Much Is Too Much to Spend in Retirement?
The Independent Investor: The Fed Turns Off the Spigot
The Independent Investor: Should You Pay Off Mortgage Before Retiring?
The Independent Investor: Retirement should be a part-time job
The Independent Investor: Unhappily Ever After
@theMarket: June Swoon
@theMarket: Europe Is a Good Bet
The Independent Investor: A Road to the Future
The Independent Investor: Holy Cow
@theMarket: Flirting With Record Highs Again


View All
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
Second Grader Emergency Drill
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
Lanesborough Seeds of Harmony...
Bradly Farm in...
Hinsdale Block Party
The Hinsdale Fire Department hosted its annual block party...
Arrowhead Country Craft Fair
Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home in Pittsfield, is hosting...
Pittsfield 3rd Thursday July...
Shakespeare was the theme for this month's 3rd Thursday...
State Little League:...
Pittsfield South defeats Holden, 3-2, in the state...
Live On The Lake Concert
Greylock Band played at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in...
Summer Softball: Force vs....
Berkshire Force beat the Adams Thunder 27-7 at Russell...
Little League: Pittsfield N...
Saturday semi-final between Pittsfield North and Pittsfield...
The Pittsfield Suns
The Pittsfield Suns defeated the Seascoast Mavericks...
Babe Ruth Tourney: Pittsfield...
Pittsield scored nine runs in the first inning and beat...
BYP Networking at Ramblewild
The Berkshire Young Professionals were up in the air on...
Pittsfield South vs North...
Andrew Watkins hit a three-run home run and a double and...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
Second Grader Emergency Drill
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
Lanesborough Seeds of Harmony...
Bradly Farm in...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved