The stock market is on a rip, due to Ben’s willingness to accommodate stock traders. But bond investors are being thrown a bone, too. This morning, across my four major accounts (representing about $800,000 face of agencies, munis, corporates, and sovereigns), I’m being marked up on everyone of them, and I hit a new equity high. Thank you, Ben. The downside, of course, of his easy money, zero interest-rate policies is that those same high prices on bonds (and, hence, low yields) are making it very, very tough to put new money to work. So, that’s the trade-off. Them that’s already in the market --stocks, bonds, whatever-- are being taken care of quite nicely. Those still trying to get in (or, worse, massively sitting in cash) are getting killed. Ultimately, of course, everyone will pay for Ben’s foolishness when the music stops and/or the punch bowl is taken away by exogenous forces (given that Ben lacks the Volcker-like courage to do it himself). Meanwhile, the 'risk-on' party continues, fueled by free money, hastening and making far worse the day of ultimate reckoning and raising this question: Who, really, is Ben helping? In the long run, it ain't you or me, and Ben is no friend to those who think that monetary conservatism is the foundation of genuine economic growth. Printing money, as he is doing, erodes the value of money already acquired and ultimately beggars everyone. That's Not A Good Thing, and Ben ain't nobody's friend, no matter the temporary, sugar high he is creating for us. I have no idea how to defend myself against his policies. But I'll be spending the weekend doing some serious thinking.
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