Monday, August 7, 2006

To Raise or Lower Interest Rates: It Doesn't Matter.

Ben Bernanke and colleagues at the Federal Reserve Commission may be wringing their hands tonight as to whether to raise interest rates a record 18 consecutive times - or to pause and do nothing. The fact is, it won't really matter to most Americans. We are all on a collision course with recession:

Housing sales are slowing down, home building and related industries feeling a crunch.

Consumer confidence waning, demand for durable goods in decline

Corporate financing for equipment has declined

Energy prices are already at an all-time high, and with news today of the BP/Alaska Oil Pipeline fiasco, a $100/barrel of oil is no longer an impossibility

More American families than ever before are "├╝ber-leveraged": having financed overvalued homes with adjustable rate loans, driving expensive inefficient vehicles for transportation, and at the same time trying to afford the sky-rocketing price of continued education for their children - all with a weakening U.S. dollar.

The rate of savings for the average American family remains at a negative, "minus 1% of disposable personal income" - from James Altucher column, The Underlevered American Household

We should take our medicine now, Mr. Bernanke. It's a big shit sandwich and everyone will have to take a bite!