To the Fed: A Picture is Worth 1000 Words by David Merkel, CFA of The Aleph Blog
The FOMC statements are much longer than they used to be, and as such, are less clear, giving faulty signals to the markets. If language is not likely to change much for a while, why not drop the language entirely, especially in cases where it affirms ideas that are obvious.
We may all know people in our lives who will say more and more if you don’t agree with them, because if you don’t agree with them, you don’t understand. More words will bring clarity to you, and you will understand. But what if they are nuts, and you are a sane person? This is how I think about the FOMC — they are bad forecasters, and they don’t understand how weak monetary policy is in a period where there is too much debt.
So let’s try some pictures to replace the words of the FOMC:
Seth Klarman On Margin Of Safety Investing
This is part nine of a ten-part series on some of the most important and educational literature for investors with a focus on value. Across this ten-part series, I’m taking a look at ten academic studies and research papers from some of the world’s most prominent value investors and fund managers. All of the material Read More
As I have said before, the FOMC is composed of overly optimistic neoclassical economists, who don’t know that their theories don’t work when and economy is too indebted. They think: Real growth is our birthright, and price inflation promotes growth. Neither are true.
Note that they have been consistently pessimistic on the unemployment rate, flawed measure that it is. Thus they think they need to keep monetary loose.
Their views of PCE inflation reflect a view that monetary policy can easily achieve a 2% rate of inflation in the long run. Pray tell, when have actions of the FOMC ever led to an equilibrium result?
Aside from that, the PCE index does not fairly represent inflation for the average person in the economy. Maybe it reflects what the rich experience.
This is a study in contrasts. They were once more optimistic that Fed Funds rates would rise sooner, and that has not happened. That said, they are now more certain that the Fed Funds rate will rise significantly in 2016. As for the long run they are getting more pessimistic about economic growth, at least in their Fed Funds forecasts.
This is another example of where the FOMC should take a step back, and not try to interpret every short-term wiggle. As a group, they whipsawed in their view of when tightening would happen over the last three datapoints, when I would not have changed much.
To the Fed I say, “Say less, and provide more graphs.” I understand that you don’t want to discredit yourselves because you are bad forecasters, but maybe you could get your points across in a more potent way by not diluting your message by many needless words.