Tom welcomes back Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and Chief Strategist for Quill Intelligence, a research, and analytics firm.
America is a very indebted country, including American households, corporations, and the national debt itself. Servicing all this debt is only possible because the Fed has been able to keep bond yields near zero. She outlines some of the inflation and trade problems last year combined with the massive amounts of stimulus. Stimulus programs and extended unemployment benefits have resulted in rising home prices, vehicle prices, and a considerable spike in revolving credit card debt. A year ago, we had millions of hospitality jobs lost, and she believes there will be other adverse effects on wages.
People are staying out of the workforce because of various unemployment benefits, resulting in unintended consequences for businesses. Danielle discusses some of the systemic issues with the CPI. Certain hedonic adjustments may be valid, but they are under-reporting health and housing expenses. Solving debt with more debt is probably not the optimal strategy. The Fed could have taken advantage of the pandemic to use QE; instead, they bailed out the bond markets. They should have used the crisis to purge inefficient and over-leveraged zombie corporations. Monetary policy widens the inequality in the system, and the Fed’s tools are too broad. These policies only exacerbate the problem by flooding wealth into the top percentile. Danielle outlines possible negative effects of central bank digital currencies and why the Fed is reluctant due to dollar risks.
Globally, there has been a slow move away from the dollar, but it still the leading trade currency. Janet Yellen, as Treasury head, is a problem because she is inadvertently helping Wall Street. Janet believes in trickle-down economics, and if he decides to deploy direct helicopter money, this could be very inflationary. Further stimulus programs this year will result in political blowback. Lastly, Danielle is concerned with the Biden administration’s lack of communication skills. Insider selling is through the roof over concerns about higher taxes. What happens if everyone tries to head for an exit.