Conversations Around The Traps

Who Suffers From Zero Interest Rate Policy?

Zero interest Rate Policy or ZIRP as it is known in some circles has been going on for two decades in Japan. It has also been going on for 7 years in the USA and Europe. The reasons have ostensibly been from keeping asset prices to stopping banks from toppling over due to lack of liquidity, through to keeping people employed. The extremely accommodating policy has been running parallel with the Quantitative Easing program in the US and Europe which have somehow helped to prop up asset prices in bubble condition around the globe, but also not spurred growth as promised.

The way the traditional/classical economy was supposed to work was that lower interests would fund capital investment for the next phase of economic growth. Instead the low interest rates have allowed speculators to place bets at lower cost, while the piled up debt has eaten into future growth in a big way. The point of all this is to say, the things the easy money has gone towards have not been exactly productive or helpful, while there are people who are genuinely suffering because interest rates have been kept so low for so long.

For instance retirees in America and Europe with some amount of money saved up during their working lives would be finding that they won’t be living off the interest of the money they saved, but be forced to eat into their savings just to survive. This sort of thing can be seen as a breaking of the social contract. There would be a whole generation of kids growing up without learning about the virtues of saving because  they’ve never seen interest payments on their bank accounts. I don’t think this is a good thing because we’re raising people who haven’t seen the benefits of saving and compound interest.

Worse still, with something like QE going on at the same time, Zero Interest rate translates into a situation where you cannot sit on cash because inflation is eating away at that value; and you can’t stay in bonds because whole countries have been threatening to default for the last 3 years. That leaves equities or foreign currency trades, and they’re no guarantee of a return.

In fact, it’s worth asking at this point in time why people who save should suffer at the hands of the Central Bank while it essentially rewards people who go into debt to buy into positions. Why is it that people should not sit on their earnings as savings? If deflation is such a threat, then why is it so bad if the man on the street is able to get more for less?

Frankly I think the world is getting ripped off.

Politicians Lie, But Must They Be Brazen About It?

I was in a conversation earlier tonight with walk-off HBP, and the issue came up about how the Murdoch press essentially insist on telling non-truths and heavily-spun tag lines, all of which amount to nothing but lies. It’s like an Orwellian thing where untruths are shouted out loud until everybody accepts it as the dominant discourse and acquiesces.

But then Tony Abbott gets up and celebrates the repealing of the Carbon Price, characterising it s this bug bear in the economy that was raising people’s costs of living while not doing anything at all for the environment, and that his government is a “conservationist” government. All of these things are wrong. The Carbon Price was hardly a blip in the rising retail power prices, it was contributing to the reduction of our emissions, and there is no way you can call a government that insists on dismantling the Carbon Price system a conservationist government in any dialect or accent of English.

It’s an astounding thing that we have a Prime Minister that stands there and spouts untruths as if they were truth, pronouncing white is black and black is white. I can accept that politicians will work the facts of the matter in their favour through spin, and that they sometimes get it wrong, making them liars after the fact. I just can’t recall a single Prime Minister of this land lying knowingly with a straight face and expecting the people to buy it. This isn’t “no child will live in poverty” things where a politician simply gets the scope of the problem wrong. These things happen and I don’t judge too harshly. Going right back to Malcolm Fraser and looking through all the NSW premiers, I don’t think I’ve seen a single head of government lie with a straight face as Tony Abbott does.

This is a person who knows the science but chooses to ignore it; understands the facts and chooses to deny them; and then acts on the worst possible advice for ideological reasons and then says he is something that that he has never ever been; and that the ignoring and denying of science and facts and going against them for ideological reasons represents something that is positive for this country when it clearly is not. For Abbott to characterise his government as ‘conservationist’, he may as well as be saying his is a ballerina government, or an artistic government, or a caring compassionate government, or a forward-looking government. These things are equally Un-true of his government as the expedient, idle, lunatic, conceited claim that his is a conservationist government, especially having repealed the Carbon Price legislation, and telling us this at the press conference to announce the repeal.

I’ve just never seen anything like it. And my mind boggles, my brain explodes… It’s like a never ending torture of our minds.

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