Monday, November 09, 2009

Inflation Expectations & No Free Lunch

There can be no better example of the well-known axiom about "no free lunch" in this world than the inevitable consequences of the bailout of Wall Street. That bailout was itself a "no free lunch" consequence of years of slap dash financial regulations plus fighting a war without asking the American people to pay for the deficits.

Oh yes, the deficits themselves were a "no free lunch" consequence of Bush's tax cuts. Those tax cuts were supposed to destroy once and all the axiom that one needed to pay for a lunch.

There are also political "no free lunch" consequences of a bailout plan hatched by Hank Paulson and later expanded by Geither/Summers to tilt towards helping predominantly a few Wall Street firms run by their pals.

Main Street will one day exact a political price on the Obama administration for a blatantly unfair bailout plan though there was no argument that a bailout of sorts was needed to pop up the sinking economy. The anger is not about whether, but about how.

Right now, all that printing of money that costs the banks next to nothing is having its "no free lunch" consequence of increased inflation expectations around the world ( read this here) even though unemployment remains sky high. The highest since the Great Depression in the US which is not officially over 10% but unofficially over 20% counting those who are "hidden".

These inflation expectations are behind the spectacular recovery in property prices in China and Hong Kong whose currencies are dollar based; the recovery in share prices, in oil and in gold.

Is this justified? I think so.

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