The Fed Is Between a Rock and a Hard Place

What Will the Federal Reserve Choose?


Mike Maharrey Mike Maharrey
Midweek Memo
February 14th, 2024 Comments

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The Federal Reserve is between a rock and a hard place.

It needs to cut interest rates because this debt-riddled economy simply can’t function in a high-rate environment. But the Fed can’t plausibly cut rates with price inflation still far above its target. 

As Mike Maharrey explains in this episode of Money Metals’ Midweek Memo, the Fed is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.

Mike opens the show with a Monty Python movie analogy to highlight the Fed’s dilemma. He then pivots into a breakdown of the January CPI report. He argues that it’s clear from the data that price inflation is far from defeated.

The markets were particularly displeased with this CPI print and threw quite a temper tantrum. Mike presents some of the highlights and offers his theory as to why the markets are responding this way. 

He notes that it is indeed a strange world when people sell an inflation hedge with evidence of elevated inflation. But it appears the markets are most concerned about getting interest rates down.

Mike talks about just one of the reasons why – the skyrocketing interest payments on the national debt.

Therein lies the rub. Everybody wants rate cuts. But inflation clearly isn’t dead. This is despite the fact monetary conditions aren’t historically tight. This is another aspect of the Fed’s dilemma. It needs to tighten more, but it knows it can’t because it will break the economy.

In fact, Mike argues that the Federal Reserve broke the economy a long time ago. He explains how and points out some of the symptoms that the mainstream isn’t paying attention to.

Mike summed it up this way:

No wonder everybody, including the central bankers over at the Fed, wants to cut rates. But price inflation is still there. And there they are, stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. 

Do they pick more price inflation? Or do they pick an economic crash and financial crisis due to high rates? Or do we maybe get both?

Mike closes out the show with a call to action, pointing out that the selloff in gold and silver after the CPI report presents a potential buying opportunity for bargain hunters.

Articles Mentioned in the Show:

Mike Maharrey

About the Author:

Mike Maharrey is a journalist and market analyst with over a decade of experience in precious metals. He holds a BS in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a BA in journalism from the University of South Florida.