Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Fed Is Funneling the Investing Herd Off a Cliff

What happens to price in a bidless market? It goes off a cliff.

As you probably know by now, it turns out lemmings didn't voluntarily commit mass suicide: they were driven off the cliff by those in charge. Lemming Suicide Myth: Disney Film Faked Bogus Behavior.

Investors in stocks, bonds and real estate are being herded off the cliff by the Federal Reserve. The name of the game in the New Normal is to force investors large and small into risk assets. When the risk assets blow up, the herd plunges headlong over the cliff en masse.

Virtually every statistic and every public utterance by Federal Reserve spokespeople or mouthpieces is designed to persuade us of several untruths--untruths that are the essential foundation of the vested interests benefiting so mightily from the corrupt, unsustainable status quo:

1. The official statistics--unemployment, GDP, etc.--are accurate reflections of actual economic activity.

2. Risk assets (stocks, bonds and real estate) are no longer risky because "the Fed has your back."

3. Too big to fail/jail corporations are the foundation of our prosperity, so no expense will be spared to bail them out and restore corporate balance sheets and profits.

That each of these propositions is self-evidently untrue creates a massive problem for the Fed: the Fed and its minions must overcome the weight of truth with propaganda and persuasion--and if that fails, then it must strip anyone who dares leave the herd of any safe returns on their capital.

In other words--if you leave the risk-on herd, you lose any hope of low-risk returns and if you manage anyone else's money, you also lose your job.The Fed is herding the crowd with financial tasers, causing anyone who veers away from the risk-on herd financial pain.

Anyone who dares to bet against the risk-on herd and the Fed: you will be destroyed.

This mass herding of investor behavior with the rewards of pseudo-safety in risk assets and the punishments of near-zero-yields on low-risk assets has a downside: when risk assets fall out of favor--that is, when risk once again becomes visible--there are no buyers left, as everyone seeking a return was funneled into risk assets long ago.

Once you funnel everyone into risk assets and then mask the risk to generate complacency, you guarantee a bidless market when risk reappears. For six long years, the Fed has acted on the dubious faith that signaling participants that risk has vanished is the equivalent of actually eliminating risk.

In other words, by ruthlessly suppressing VXX (a popular trading measure of short-term volatility), the Fed and its cronies have generated the illusion that risk has been vanquished.

This is analogous to generating the illusion of prosperity by issuing low unemployment numbers. You haven't actually moved the needle of job creation--all you've done is create an illusion of low unemployment.

The core idea here is that sustaining the illusion of growth will cause people to borrow more money and hire more people because they mistakenly believe the economy is going gangbusters. But enterprises have fixed costs that cannot be made to go away by beliefs in a strong economy, and profits don't respond to beliefs, either.

When the herd tries to sell their risk-on assets, there won't be any buyers left except the central banks. The central banks don't actually want to own all the risk-on assets; they simply wanted to con us into buying them at nosebleed valuations, to keep the illusion going.

What happens to price in a bidless market? It goes off a cliff. When the herd wants to sell, it will find no other herd of buyers; the Fed drove everyone into one herd, and now the Fed is funneling that herd off the "there's no volatility left anywhere" cliff. 

Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy(Kindle, $9.95)(print, $20)
go to Kindle editionAre you like me? Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $20

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers(25 minutes, YouTube)

The Old Models of Work Are Broken 

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