The Punch Bowl Stays And The Bubble Keeps Inflating

By Peter Schiff

It is well known that I don’t think much of the ability of government officials to correctly forecast much of anything. Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have made famously clueless predictions with respect to stock and housing bubbles, and rank and file Fed economists have consistently overestimated the strength of the economy ever since their forecasts became public in 2008 (see my previous article on the subject). But there is one former Fed and White House economist who has a slightly better track record…which is really not saying much. Over his public and private career, former Fed Governor and Bush-era White House Chief Economist Larry Lindsey actually got a few things right.

Today, we face a similar but far more dangerous prospect. Whereas Greenspan kept rates at 1% for only a year, Bernanke and Yellen have kept them at zero for almost seven. We have pumped in massively more liquidity this time around, and our economy has become that much more addicted and unbalanced as a result. Arguably, the bubbles we have created (in stocks, bonds, student debt, auto loans, and real estate) in the years since rates were cut to zero in 2008 have been far larger than the stock and housing bubbles of the Greenspan era. When they pop, look out below. Unfortunately, the gradual approach did not save us last time (worse, it backfired by making the ensuing crisis that much worse), and I believe it won’t work this time.

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