Navigating Stagflation: Insights from Money Metals Midweek Memo

May 1st, 2024 Comments

In the latest episode of the Money Metals Midweek Memo, host Mike Maharrey delves into the complexities of the current economic landscape including that of China as a member of BRICS, Federal Reserve policies, and stagflation. 

China’s Growing Influence on the Global Economy 

Mike Maharrey highlights concerns about China's growing influence on the global economy and its implications for the United States. He suggests that China's economic rise as a member of the BRICS bloc poses challenges to the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency and could potentially undermine the country's economic stability and geopolitical power - perhaps leading to de-dollarization. 

Maharrey expresses apprehension about China's accumulation of U.S. debt and its role as a major holder of Treasury securities. He argues that China's large holdings of U.S. debt give it significant leverage over the American economy and could potentially allow it to exert influence over U.S. monetary policy and fiscal decisions.

Furthermore, Maharrey warns against complacency regarding China's economic policies and ambitions, emphasizing the need for the United States to address its own fiscal and monetary challenges to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy. He cautions against underestimating China's strategic objectives and urges policymakers to adopt measures to safeguard America's economic interests and national security.

Overall, Maharrey advocates for a proactive approach to managing the economic relationship with China, including efforts to reduce dependency on foreign debt, strengthen domestic manufacturing and innovation, and preserve the integrity of the U.S. dollar as the world's primary reserve currency. He believes that addressing the economic and geopolitical implications of China's rise requires careful consideration and decisive action to protect America's long-term interests and economic sovereignty.

How Does the Federal Reserve Operate and Enable Big Government?

Drawing parallels between hockey playoffs and the Federal Reserve's battle against inflation, Mike Maharrey explains the failure of the Federal Reserve. As the Tampa Bay Lightning faced a disappointing defeat against the Florida Panthers, Maharrey draws analogies to the Fed's struggle to contain inflation amid soaring debt levels and fiscal spending.

Mike Maharrey argues that the Federal Reserve enables big government in several key ways.

Firstly, he points out that the Fed's ability to purchase government securities effectively monetizes government debt. 

This means that the government can finance its spending by issuing debt that the Fed then buys, essentially creating money out of thin air. Consequently, this process allows the government to run larger deficits without immediate consequences, as it can rely on the central bank to purchase its debt and keep borrowing costs low.

Secondly, Maharrey emphasizes that the Fed's monetary policy tools, such as quantitative easing (QE), keep interest rates artificially low. This makes it cheaper for the government to borrow money, thus encouraging deficit spending. 

With lower interest payments on its debt, the government finds it easier to finance expansive programs and initiatives. This perpetuates a cycle of increased government spending, fueled by readily available and inexpensive credit facilitated by the Federal Reserve.

Furthermore, Maharrey highlights that the Fed's pursuit of expansionary monetary policies, including low interest rates and asset purchases, stimulates borrowing and spending throughout the economy. 

This environment encourages government spending as well since policymakers may be more inclined to fund projects or programs when borrowing costs are low. Thus, the Fed's actions indirectly support the growth of big government by fostering an atmosphere of easy credit and spending.

Lastly, Maharrey underscores the role of the Federal Reserve in providing bailouts during times of financial crisis. By intervening to stabilize the economy and bail out large financial institutions, the Fed indirectly supports big government. 

These bailouts prevent the collapse of major banks or corporations with close ties to government interests (cronyism), thereby maintaining the status quo and allowing government spending to persist unchecked.

Overall, Maharrey contends that the Federal Reserve's policies contribute to the expansion of big government by providing cheap financing, liquidity, and bailouts that allow government spending to escalate beyond sustainable levels. He advocates for stricter limits on the Fed's ability to monetize debt and intervene in financial markets to promote fiscal discipline and prevent government overreach.

What is Stagflation?

Mike Maharrey defines stagflation as "that ugly playoff beard that just won't go away." While this is a humorous analogy, he essentially characterizes stagflation as a challenging economic scenario marked by both inflation and stagnant economic growth. 

This definition aligns with the conventional understanding of stagflation as a situation where prices rise (price inflation as a symptom of monetary inflation) while economic activity remains sluggish (stagnation), posing unique challenges for policymakers and investors alike.

The official definition of stagflation is that it is an economic phenomenon characterized by a combination of stagnant economic growth, high unemployment, and rising prices (inflationary symptom). 

Stagflation is a rare and challenging scenario because it involves a simultaneous occurrence of inflationary pressures and economic stagnation, which are typically contradictory in traditional economic theory. This situation can arise due to various factors such as supply shocks, cost-push inflation, or demand-pull inflation coupled with a slowdown in economic activity. 

Stagflation poses significant challenges for policymakers as traditional monetary and fiscal policies aimed at addressing either inflation or unemployment may exacerbate the other problem.

Analysis of Federal Reserve Policy

Maharrey delves into the limitations of monetary policy tools in addressing inflationary trends exacerbated by fiscal spending. He highlights the Fed's challenge in navigating stagflation, a scenario characterized by rising inflation and stagnant economic growth. 

Despite the Fed's hawkish rhetoric, Maharrey argues that interest rate hikes alone cannot offset the inflationary impact of expansive fiscal policies.

Mike Maharrey criticizes quantitative easing (QE) and asserts that it is a tool through which the Federal Reserve creates inflation. He argues that QE essentially involves the central bank injecting money into the economy by purchasing assets such as government bonds. According to Maharrey, this influx of money into the financial system leads to inflation by devaluing the currency and causing prices to rise.

Implications for Investors

In light of the looming stagflationary environment, Maharrey advises investors to reconsider their asset allocation strategies. He suggests that gold and silver, traditionally regarded as inflation hedges, may offer stability and resilience amid economic uncertainty. 

By emphasizing the importance of long-term fundamentals over short-term market fluctuations, Maharrey encourages listeners to explore precious metals as a strategic investment option.

Why Should I Buy Gold and Silver?

​​Mike Maharrey advocates for buying gold and silver from Money Metals Exchange as a hedge against the risks associated with the Federal Reserve's monetary policies and the potential for economic instability. He suggests that precious metals like gold and silver have historically served as stores of value and protection against inflation. 

Maharrey argues that by holding physical gold and silver from Money Metals Exchange, investors can safeguard their wealth from the erosion caused by inflationary monetary policies, such as quantitative easing and deficit spending.

Furthermore, Maharrey believes that gold and silver from Money Metals Exchange offer protection against the devaluation of fiat currencies, which are subject to manipulation by central banks like the Federal Reserve. He contends that owning tangible assets like gold and silver provides a form of financial insurance, offering stability and security in times of economic uncertainty.

Moreover, Maharrey recommends buying gold and silver from Money Metals Exchange as a way to diversify investment portfolios and reduce exposure to the risks associated with traditional financial assets. By allocating a portion of one's wealth to precious metals, investors can mitigate the potential losses that may result from market volatility, currency fluctuations, or inflationary pressures.

Overall, Maharrey views buying gold and silver from Money Metals Exchange as a prudent strategy for preserving wealth and hedging against the uncertainties created by government monetary policies and economic instability. He advises investors to consider adding precious metals to their investment portfolios as a means of protecting their purchasing power and ensuring financial resilience in the face of systemic risks.


Mike Maharrey concludes by urging listeners to stay informed and proactive in navigating the evolving economic landscape. With stagflationary pressures on the horizon and uncertainties surrounding Fed policies, Maharrey emphasizes the value of prudent investment decisions and diversification strategies. 

By aligning with sound money principles and leveraging precious metals as a hedge against inflation, investors can better position themselves to weather market volatility and preserve wealth in the face of economic challenges.