It’s been a while since my last post, and while I’ve since made a few attempts at creating new material for my blog, I’m finding that it requires a serious vested interest for the post to just fly off my fingers as they once did. If I ever had the knack for it, it is at least misplaced for now.
I did find the buzz around the Mueller report interesting. I had posted about the investigation from time to time, along with protests about the media spending so much time and energy on Trump, and I never saw anything in the reports that pointed in the direction of some sort of conspiracy. A broken clock is correct twice per day, and so I suppose it was my time of day – lucky call.
Really, though, I believe I might be inflicted by a more rational form of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Trump softened his appalling stance on the Syria disengagement, and let the people who care about what happens to Syrian Kurds in the SDF deal with the issues with Tukey. But that, along with the Mueller report, does not exonerate him of the tyranny of his rashness. Tariffs and the selective payoffs for the damage they do are also still a real peevish kind of thing for me.
And as much as Trump claimed to be all about the wellbeing of average people, arrogantly likening himself to the Whiggishness of Lincoln, he’s actually done very little in the way of knocking down barriers of all kinds to entrepreneurship. He spends all his energy on the lazy man’s trade tactics, simply slapping tariffs on stuff, and doesn’t do anything about the real economic problems that are here at home. The old stuff going away isn’t so much the economic problem as it is made out to be, but rather, the problem is the question of where the new opportunities are – and there are so few to go around. So, Trump, two years into your presidency, where the hell are they??
Perhaps Trump’s just too busy ignoring Lootin’ Lampert… or something. I really think the why of things you don’t hear about are infinitely more interesting than chasing ghosts, or perhaps witches, and there was not a peep out of the administration about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sears. Amazing for a so-called populist. At least some Democrats were somewhat on top of the out there and in-your-face kind of hedge fund freeloading that Sears stunk of, presenting a few proposals to make it harder to loot a company without having the pension plans fully paid. One of them aimed to change bankruptcy law to make it harder to dump those obligations, which I think is probably not going to work because the problem is taking the money out of a company while neglecting pension obligations, well before bankruptcy is used. But at least they said something; and I really wonder where the money these guys loot goes. Where the real performance is – to build up India and China…?
Yes. Tariffs are the lazy approach to Trump appearing as if he’s doing something important about the economy, lack of opportunity, when he is doing more harm than good and nothing more.
Other things that I found interesting during my posting hiatus were the posts by George Selgin on IoER. They provided more insight to what the switch away from the corridor system to IoER in 2008 means to the more technical approach to monetary policy conduct today than I had previously contemplated. I understood the impact of the switch, but never really thought about IoER in any real depth before. Of course, Selgin used at least one of his IoER posts to join in on the recent debate about MMT and they were likely intended more for that general purpose, but they planted some seeds in my mind for other ways concepts in the posts could be used, like the political situation the Fed is now in because IoER. Other ideas that jumped out at me are things like FF rate being near meaningless, and what do OMO’s really mean. If the Fed couldn’t just go on a buying spree to hit its target, and lots of cooperation is needed from the banks, it seems like a situation such as late 2007 or most of 2008 would end up as somewhat troubling; and perhaps skinnying down the balance sheet is really just skinnying down the margin of error without any way of having an immediate impact. The tight bias is still alive and well in modern monetary policy, so much so that I shudder to think about the status quo as being perhaps not much more than a pocket of good luck.