Mar 18, 2015

Patience my ass...

It is a pretty normal day here at Camp Jiggleview. The weather is chilly and gray, so I'm tidying up the dump, running some errands, and planning to spend the afternoon and evening getting the shop squared away for spring projects.

Meaning that I am missing the latest hysterical predictions about that word Janet Yellin will choose or reject in her report and canned press conference this afternoon.

It is "patience." It is code for how soon she and her fellow pin-stripe central bankers will slow down the Federal Reserve Cartoon mimeograph machine.  If "patience" stays in, the presses keep rolling merrily along on into the distant future.  If "patience" is deleted she'll retard the throttle from Mach 3 to Mach 2.95.

In the latter case, you can rejoice. That thousand dollars you have tucked away in a CD will start earning five dollars a year. Instead of about two.


A rate increase negligible for virtually all Americans is a bigger deal for the banks, currency traders and other one per centers.  Dealing in billions and trillions they can live and die on such tweaks. Tweaklets.

Not so Joe Six Pack, to whom the damage is already done.


I'm talking about a hard-working, respectable, frugal Joe Six Pack. He made his jeans last an extra six months. He usually bought generic. He told his whiny,  rotten high school daughter, "No, you can't have a $3,000 prom dress; $2,000 is the limit and I'm sorry as Hell it will ruin your life." And he made his six-pack of Busch Lite last three days.

Let's say a working life time of such intelligent thrift came to fruition in about 2007 when he celebrated having finally put $100,000 away for his golden years. Simple CDs would turn about $5,000 a year in interest. Even without compounding until he retired,  that income would help pad out his  Social Security check and company pension. There would be enough to keep the car in top shape and, maybe, even replace it at 200,000 miles.

Enough for some travel, maybe even one of those cut-rate six-day cruises that would make the missus so happy.

But in an eye-blink his world changed because all the politicians and gnomes decided the only way to  bail out the Bank of America was to make his $100,000 nest egg worthless as an investment. They would print enough money to make interest superfluous -- meaning zero plus a giggly, face-saving fraction of a per cent.

Instead of $5,000 a year Joe would earn $500. Rounding and crunching the numbers, that means he has  already suffered a permanent loss of something like $30,000 since 2008. A modest car, that cheap cruise, a trip to Yellowstone.

Just to make ends meet, he spends his golden years in the Walmart foyer, handing out carts and trying to be nice to shoppers. Joe, meet the American dream as redefined by Bernanke, Yellin, and all the politicians and too-big-to-fails to whom they kowtow.


I agree this tome is too long, too windy. The Hell with it. You say "immoral" your way. I'll say it mine.


The Old Man said...

As near as I can tell, you're optimistic. But that's me.

Jim said...

Yeah, I'm a little on the optimistic side personally, but I can't help feeling for the JSP's suffering from broken federal pormises.