2009-05-03 — safehaven.com
Many would today argue that it was simply a case of the Fed's failure to take the punchbowl away in time. Such analysis misses a key facet of Bubble dynamics. Once the Mortgage Finance Bubble gained a foothold there was absolutely no way policymakers were going to be willing to risk bursting such a consequential Bubble.
I see ample support for my view that Bubble dynamics have taken root throughout government finance. This unprecedented inflation includes Federal Reserve Credit, Treasury borrowings, Agency debt, GSE MBS guarantees, FHA and FDIC insurance, massive pension and healthcare obligations, the myriad new market support programs, etc. This Government Finance Bubble is domestic as well as global. Amazingly, the scope of the unfolding Bubble dwarfs even the Mortgage Finance Bubble. And, importantly, it is reasonable to presume that the Federal Reserve will find itself in the familiar position of being trapped by the risk of bursting a historic Bubble.
So I see the probabilities as very low that the Fed will reverse course and impose tightened liquidity conditions upon the marketplace. Actually, reflationary pressures may force the Fed to increase its Treasury holdings in an effort to maintain artificially low interest rates. At the same time, I don't see higher inflation as the greatest cost associated with this predicament. Much greater risk lies with the acute systemic fragility that I believe is inherent to major Bubbles. Similar to mortgage finance 2002-2007, the marketplace is significantly mispricing the cost - and failing to recognize the risks - of a massive inflation of government finance. And while every Bubble has its own dynamics and nuances, the unfolding Government Finance Bubble has even more precarious Ponzi Finance dynamics than the Mortgage Bubble.
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