Stirling Newberry argues that the failure to achieve real reform of the financial system means we are in the same place we were just before the 2007-07 crisis: central banks’ “easy money” policies, coupled with a paucity of real investment opportunities, is already resulting in continued stagnation of the real economy and wages, and increasing reliance on offshoring to countries with lower wages, benefits, and safety regimes. In the process, Newberry performs the inestimable public service of slapping down the pretensions of Niall Ferguson.
Newberry begins by noting where the hot money is going now.
Everyone knows that money is rushing into oil, ahead of an expected economic rebound later this year. Since no one has good futures, and because last year they were running over 100 dollars a barrel, more buyers are being forced to the spot market.
This dynamic is unchanged since 2004: no one knows what will lead the recovery, but everyone knows it will involve burning more oil. So buy oil.
Take the time to go through the last paragraph slowly, so that you fully understand it, recalling what Newberry wrote a few weeks ago:
the fight, in economic ideology, was over how much of the investment in the future should be handled by a very wealthy elite, and what fraction should be handled by the public through government. The ideology of the time was that the wealthy elite . . . was always right, and the public was always wrong. This theory has been proven false. The economic destruction of the New Depression, and Depression is the correct word, will extend for years, and has wiped out the fictional gains of the last 30 years. We are now exactly where we would have been without this experiment in a dictatorship of the propertariat, and we have nothing to show for it but a surplus of posh apartments and private jets.
OK, here’s the last paragraph from Newberry’s latest:
now that money can rush back into oil, and into stocks, the cost of public borrowing long term must rise. It's a matter of supply and demand. Previously the supply of safe places to park money was limited, and now it is not. The very decision to put rebound ahead of restructuring is closing the window of change. We are, in essence, right back to where we were before the credit explosion -- around 2004 or so -- ready to charge up the same hill of loose money from the central banks; going into rent seeking parked money; and choking of expansion, wages, employment, and capital formation beyond offshoring of old capital to lower wage and benefit areas. There is an immediate need for a second round of economic policy, one which actually sits in Congress by another name: the energy bill which is proposing, not "cap and trade" since 85% of all the allowances are to be given away, but "a new NIRA," that is a massive industrial policy based on specific regulation.
As I wrote near the end of January, Saving the financial system without a national industrial policy is worse than useless.