Originally published 03/04/2013
Evan A. Schnidman is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University studying how politics and finance play a role in central-bank decision making. He is also the founder and primary author of FedPlaybook.com, a central bank forecasting and analysis resource for investors.After a decade of financial struggle and a severe crisis in Europe that caused a massive ripple effect around the world, the United States found itself engaging in unprecedentedly loose monetary policy to finance public debt. You might have guessed I was describing the economy at the start of 2013, but despite financial prognostications that 2013 will be a good year for the U.S. economy, the parallels between the U.S. economy in 1947 and in 2013 are quite stark.The historyDuring and immediately after World War II, the Fed maintained extremely low interest rates in order to reduce war-financing costs for the government. As these policies became unnecessary and inflationary after the war, the Fed was compelled by the Treasury to maintain the low cost of debt. The result of this highly accommodating monetary policy was 14 percent inflation in 1947 and rising unemployment that persisted into the early 1950s....
Originally published 01/29/2013
A 1779 fifty-five dollar note printed by the Continental Congress. Via Wiki Commons."Welcome to the Continental Congress.""I'm not sure what you mean by that, Mr. President.""I mean we're on our way to a visit to the people who almost lost the American Revolution -- if we continue to try to maintain the illusion that our money has any value when the interest rate for borrowing it is zero and we try to solve our mounting debt problems by printing it by the billions.""Was that what happened to the Continental Congress?""Congress printed dollars at a fantastic rate in 1776. It seemed to work beautifully. They shipped it to the various states and they built forts, warships and mustered new regiments for the Continental Army. We were a dynamic new nation -- until we lost a couple of battles. Suddenly people started thinking that if we lost the war, these pieces of paper would be worth nothing. NOTHING. That's when our dollars started to depreciate.""How could you tell that was happening?"
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