Recently I saw an interview done with Kyle Bass, which was done in early November as a part of AmeriCatalyst 2011. The interview was over an hour in but if you start at the 46-minute mark, I assure you will be glad you did as it will lead you to the same conclusion that I came to and its one I want to address today. That is concerning the Keynesian debt system and interest payments on the debt.
Kyle Bass, who founded Hayman Capital in 2006, made a fortune betting against the sub-prime mortgage bond market. Yes, that same bond market that was at the forefront of the great meltdown in 2008-present. You can also find Bass’s surging rise to the top in Michael Lewis’s book 'Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour'.
Towards the latter part of this interview, Mr Bass says that if the FED raises the interest rates, for every 1% point moved higher it will “create an additional 140 billion in interest expenses”. That got me thinking.
The FED is already on record saying they will not move interest rates until 2014 at the earliest, so the amount of liquidity in the system will only explode until then. That we know is a given.
What isn’t a given is what happens when they do raise interest rates. Kyle Bass seems to think that the Keynesian end point is zero and that, of course, would lead to massive hyperinflation. I assume that to be somewhat true as well, although I think the FED will do something to intervene to prevent that from happening, because:
A. they are too arrogant not to
B. their sole responsibility is to control our money supply.
So, even with unemployment news getting better the last few months, we are still (as we have said before) in the period of time of the worst, extended lack of job growth; then any point in modern Keynesian history. There is another factor and that is the FED isn’t going to raise rates for the next few years; then it hit me.
What happens when the FED has to go the Volckeresque route and raise rates too early 80’s height to stave off inflation, assuming zero isn’t the end game?
Will we see a repeat of the “October massacre” of ’79 sometime in the future, where interest rates were raised dramatically? In 1979 inflation was running at 13%. After those interest rate hikes by Volcker over the next few years, inflation dropped to 3.2%.
That, however, was not the politically smart thing to do at the time but it was the prudent thing for the country going forward. It also brought on a recession and I can’t think of any politician let alone anyone from the FED willing to do so in this day in age outside of Ron Paul.
“Strictly speaking, it probably is not “necessary” for the federal government to tax anyone directly; it could simply print the money it needs. However, that would be too bold a stroke, for it would then be obvious to all what kind of counterfeiting operation the government is running. The present system combining taxation and inflation is akin to watering the milk; too much water and the people catch on.” – Ron Paul
It is also important to note, that interest rate hike also made the perfect organic soil for a vast economic expansion to blossom as well, go figure.
If we know the interest payments are 450 Billion on the debt last year (combining both public and intra debt) and we have heard from Kyle Bass that for every point raised brings about an additional $140 billion in interest… and if we approached the prime rate today what Volcker’s prime rate topped out at 21.5 percent, what would our interest payment be?
It would be a whopping 2.9 Trillion in additional interest payments…annually. On top of the 450 billion currently obligated by law to pay… annually. Thus the interest payment today, on the debt, at early 1980 levels; would be about as much as the entire federal budget is today. If that isn’t a sign of the times and further proof of us living beyond our means, I don’t know what else is. No wonder Bass thinks the end game is zero. No wonder he has over 20 million nickel coins and bars of gold in his drawer… hyperinflation here we come!