Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Fat Zero

Update: I was wrong on the printing issue.

The Federal Reserve cut the target for the Federal Funds Rate to 0.00-0.25%. Effectively, zero. But, effectively, it was already zero. With core CPI hovering around zero, real interest rates are also about zero. And all these zeros add up to a big fat zero because where the economy is right now, real interest rates should be negative. But rates can't go below zero, so the Fed is "out of ammo" as the saying goes.

Quantitative easing is now the name of the game. Quantitative easing, you say? Printing. P-r-i-n-t-i-n-g. The goal is to prevent deflation which, as I said before, the Fed will do at (almost) any cost.

Side note: What about the money market mutual fund issue? Conventional wisdom was that rates below 1% would blow up most funds. I haven't heard anything on that topic recently.

Updated aside: Calculated Risk asks the same question.

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