Market Timing

Gerald Driscoll, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and former vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, thinks the Fed should engage in market timing regarding its planned short-term interest rate hike in September—a planned move that he actually calls a course change.

The world markets are in turmoil, he worries, and the Fed should delay its planned hike. Why raise rates now, he asks.

Why not now? Well, the inflation rate doesn’t justify a monetary tightening, he says.

Well, raising interest rates now—or in September as the Fed has said it’s ready to do—from their current suppressed-to-artificially-low rates, and bringing them closer to rates more consistent with the Fed’s price stability goal of 2% inflation isn’t monetary tightening. On the contrary, that would be controls loosening. Letting the market determine interest rates will spur economic growth and national—and individual citizen—prosperity.

Low interest rates were thought to be stimulative. But we have learned that financial intermediaries struggle with spreads in a low-interest-rate environment.

Indeed. Many of us have learned also—and the Fed should have learned this, too—that we all struggle with artificially low interest rates: they’re inconsistent with a robust economy.

The Fed isn’t any better at market timing—at predicting the actions of animal spirits—than any other institution or collection of skilled investors. The key to prosperity is discipline, sticking to a plan even when things seem momentarily uncomfortable.

The Fed should be disciplined and stick to its plan. It shouldn’t try timing the animal spirits.

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