Negative U.S. Interest Rates?
By Dr. Chris Kacher of Hanse Digital Access, KJA Digital Asset Investments and Virtue of Selfish Investing on The Capital
History Rhymes if it does not Repeat
The bond markets are massive. Globally, they comprise hundreds of trillions of dollars and dollar equivalents. This is profoundly bullish for bitcoin. Fed Chair Powell has said he is not opposed to taking rates negative in the U.S. With a growing part of the world sitting at negative rates of interest including the EU’s leading country Germany with almost $3 trillion dollar equivalents in savings accounts sitting at near-zero or negative yields, cash is no longer the safe haven people have become accustomed to over the many decades.
According to Ray Dalio of Bridgewater who runs the world’s largest hedge fund, he writes that as a principle-based on several hundred years of boom and bust cycles:
1) Before there is a shooting war there is usually an economic war.
2) Severe economic downturns with large wealth gaps, large debts, and ineffective monetary policies make a combustible combination that typically leads to significant conflicts and revolutionary changes within countries.
3) During periods of great conflict, there is a strong tendency to move to a more autocratic leadership to bring order to the chaos.
4) Deflationary depressions are debt crises caused by there not being enough money in the hands of debtors to service their debts. They inevitably lead to the printing of money, debt restructurings, and government spending programs that increase the supply of, and reduce the value of, money and credit. The only question is how long it takes for government officials to make this move.
5) During periods of severe economic distress and large wealth gaps, there are typically revolutionarily large redistributions of wealth. When done peacefully these are achieved through large tax increases on the rich and big increases in the supply of money that devalue debtors’ claims, and when done violently they are achieved by forced asset confiscations.
In the case of the Great Depression, it took from the October 1929 peak to Roosevelt’s March 1933 action at the depths of the bear market when the Dow Industrials had lost -90% from peak-to-trough to make the move. Rates were quickly brought down though nowhere near where they are today at 0%. But nevertheless, there was a direct correlation with an unusually low discount rate pushed below 2.5% and all the way down to 1.5% where it stayed. From that point until the end of 1936, the Dow skyrocketed over 200%. Then in 1937, the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy and caused the recession of 1937–38 sending the Dow down -50.2%.
In other rare but extreme situations, unusually low rates have generally been bullish for U.S. stock markets. So today’s rates of 0% for both the discount and federal funds rate suggest a continued but sloppy uptrend in the major market averages. The Fed seems willing to push rates into negative territory if that is what it takes to keep the uptrend alive.
Underscoring the intentions of the left, during periods of severe economic distress and large wealth gaps such as we are witnessing right now, expect a large redistribution of wealth if history going back hundreds of years is any guide.
When done peacefully, wealth redistribution is achieved through large tax increases on the rich and big increases in the supply of money that devalue debtors’ claims. FDR created big government spending programs such as the New Deal that were paid for by big tax increases on the rich. The top marginal income tax rate for individuals shot from 25% in 1930 to 75% by 1935 to 81% in 1941. The top corporate tax rate shot from 12% in 1930 to 31% in 1941.
If Trump wins reelection, the large tax increase will be put off as gridlock may ensue though QEInfinity will remain alive and well with interest rates most likely negative by that time.
When the redistribution of wealth is done violently, it is achieved by forced asset confiscations. The dollar was debased as the Fed aggressively eased starting in 1933. The government forced everyone to turn in their gold. The value of gold was then reset which was the equivalent of an overnight tax of 41% as the price of gold was artificially hiked from $20.67 to $35, thus devaluing the dollar by 41%.
Think your money is safe? Well, not only is it being debased slowly if its the dollar, pound, or euro, but bank closures have occurred as well as stock market closings during more extreme times. Near the end of World War II, both German and Japanese stock markets remained closed until 1948 when they reopened far lower. Investors in stocks were stuck without access to their capital which is another reason why bitcoin is a safe tool of diversification as no government can prevent its decentralized growth across cyberspace. Furthermore, its market can’t be closed as decentralized methods of exchange are already in place.
My long view remains optimistic due to the numerous bleeding-edge technologies that are growing at exponential rates. AI, VR, longevity/health, blockchain, etc. Of these, blockchain holds promise at decentralizing power structures so future governments will be far less centralized, thus power more evenly distributed. Yes, this is perhaps on a generational timescale so it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
What is happening now is the ascent of top-performing assets over the last ten years. It was asked:
Well, bitcoin in July 2010 was worth $0.0008. Today, it is worth roughly $9300. So $1 invested in bitcoin 10 years ago would be worth about $11,500,000 today. But is it any surprise that since 2009 when bitcoin was created and QEndless was launched that bitcoin’s value continues to move higher like a rising sun since its creation?