Related book: Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindWhy Americans Don’t Trust the Fed - by Roger Lowenstein (LINK)
Related book (comes out tomorrow): America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reservea16z Podcast: Dell + EMC — Why the Python Just Ate the Cow (LINK)
Winner Takes Most (LINK)
Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook, Third Quarter 2015 (LINK)
It’s not Fed easing itself that supports the market. What matters is the risk-seeking behavior of investors. Fed easing can contribute to that, but the two do not overlap nearly as well as investors seem to believe. The Fed eased repeatedly during the 1981-82 bear market, the 2000-2002 plunge, and the 2007-2009 collapse. Fed easing simply does not provide reliable support for the market once investors become risk-averse, because in that environment, low-interest but safe liquidity is a desirable asset rather than an inferior one.
The latest QE bubble has not only been reckless, it has been senselessly encouraged by blithe central bankers who seem concerned about neither speculative risks, capital misallocation, nor the fact that their policy tools have no meaningful historical correlation with their primary policy targets. The Fed might as well be using a Ouija board as a policy tool. While Ben Bernanke’s new book, The Courage to [Violate the Federal Reserve] Act reflects the self-important delusion that Fed action ended the global financial crisis, the fact is that Fed-induced yield-seeking speculation had a much greater role in causing the crisis than any other factor, by feeding demand for mortgage securities – regardless of the creditworthiness of the borrowers – and fueling a housing bubble.
As the bubble collapsed, banks and other financial institutions plunged toward insolvency, as losses on mortgage-backed securities dragged the assets on their balance sheets toward - or below - the value of the liabilities they owed to depositors and bondholders. The crisis effectively ended with the stroke of the pen by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. That happened on March 16, 2009, when the FASB announced its intention to abandon mark-to-market rules, in response to Congressional pressure by the House Committee on Financial Services on March 12, 2009. The final vote was on April 2, 2009. Read those links, and the reality of what happened will become clear. The decision gave banks and other financial institutions “significant judgment” in the values that they assigned to assets, rather than booking them at market value. With that discretion, financial institutions could use cash-flow models (“mark-to-model”) to instantly transform previously insolvent balance sheets to solvent ones. They immediately did just that, and in hindsight, regulators went along with it.