Monday, September 19, 2022

Monday Morning Links

  • As the 40-year interest rates cycle continues to turn, the Fed will increasingly be forced to the printing press in order to offset losses from its own negative interest rate spread, its own balance sheet and to plug the hole in the Treasury’s balance sheet that is caused by $107.4 billion in income reversing and becoming a sea of red. Eventually, the Fed will succeed in breaking something—quite possibly themselves—then pivot. You cannot have massive fiscal deficits while simultaneously having the Fed tighten, as someone has to buy the rapidly increasing pool of debt—especially as the government’s own funding costs are about to explode due to much higher interest rates as short-term paper rolls over at much higher rates. For that matter, the government had over a decade to term out the nation’s debt, yet multiple Treasury Secretaries failed to accomplish this. Now a rather increased percentage of total fiscal revenue will go simply towards paying interest expense. Milton Friedman famously said, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.” As the Fed tries to fight inflation, it’s inevitably going to smash into the wall that I have described above. As a result, I doubt they get too far on the rates side, as past a certain threshold, increasing rates only forces them to print money. Thus, higher rates only accelerate the inflation crisis—especially as higher funding costs disincentivize investment in new capacity across the economy. In summary, higher interest rates will only increase the cash burn everywhere within the Fed and the Treasury. They’ll rapidly realize that they’re completely trapped. They cannot tame inflation without effectively bankrupting themselves. Except, Central Banks don’t go bankrupt—neither do countries that borrow in their own currencies. Instead, they’ll go bankrupt in a whirlwind of money printing and inflation. Simply put, they’ll try this experiment, realize it won’t work and get back to monetizing debt. [Kuppy
  • In the end, the researchers unearthed a total of 56 episodes of hyperinflation, many of them previously unreported in English-language works. It needs to be noted that the criterion used in their paper is very strict: a consumer price increase of at least 50% in a month. This excludes countries such as Israel, Vietnam, or Italy, even though they experienced many years of very steep inflation - and in the latter two cases, ended up with banknote denominations all the way up to 500,000. [Michal Zalewski]
  • If you synthesize the best parts of Falkenstein and Redleaf, you predict that the next crisis is going to come in the investment that is currently perceived as riskless enough for highly leveraged institutions like banks to buy. In the 2000s that was mortgages, at other times it has been other investments like railroads. Right now, government bonds are accorded zero risk in calculating bank capital ratios. The idea that government bonds are riskless when governments are planning to flood the market and when the expenditures are consumed (building no collateral) may prove to be the latest delusion. [CBS]
  • A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibits large social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of its speaker. The platforms urge us to hold that the statute is facially unconstitutional and hence cannot be applied to anyone at any time and under any circumstances. In urging such sweeping relief, the platforms offer a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment. That Amendment, of course, protects every person’s right to “the freedom of speech.” But the platforms argue that buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech. The implications of the platforms’ argument are staggering. On the platforms’ view, email providers, mobile phone companies, and banks could cancel the accounts of anyone who sends an email, makes a phone call, or spends money in support of a disfavored political party, candidate, or business. What’s worse, the platforms argue that a business can acquire a dominant market position by holding itself out as open to everyone—as Twitter did in championing itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.” Blue Br. at 6 & n.4. Then, having cemented itself as the monopolist of “the modern public square,” Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017), Twitter unapologetically argues that it could turn around and ban all pro-LGBT speech for no other reason than its employees want to pick on members of that community, Oral Arg. at 22:39–22:52. Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say. Because the district court held otherwise, we reverse its injunction and remand for further proceedings. [NetChoice v. Paxton]
  • One of the signs of success of any weightlifting program is the first time someone questions if you’re “natural”.  It is a false dichotomy.  In the 21st century, it would be nearly impossible to avoid all of the xenoestrogens artificially suppressing testosterone – they are in pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, cleaning products, plastics, dental sealants, receipts, dust, laundry products, carpets, shampoo, building materials, and toys.  They are literally in the water.  They are in the air.  In short, due to modern manufacturing processes, they are functionally unavoidable.  So hormones are under attack compared to past generations and compared with younger people who have had less exposure.  Passively accepting this is unnatural.  Retaliating with hormone improving behaviors (such as adequate sleep and weight management) as well as pharma restores your optimal – and natural – testosterone level. [Chris DeMuth]
  • Given the number of seasonal houses on MVY, there should be immediate space for at least 50,000 migrants to live between now and May 2023. After that, Google Maps shows that there is plenty of undeveloped land near the MVY airport and to the south. Much of this land is actually owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and thus there would be no obstacle to building permanent housing for as many migrants as wish to settle in this exclusive vacation paradise. Folks in Massachusetts who say that life in Texas and Florida is intolerable due to malgovernance, the lack of abortion care for pregnant people in reproductive health care settings, etc., now also say that migrants are being injured by being transported from Texas and Florida to Massachusetts. [Phil G]
  • The cold start to winter mornings has become one of my favorite things about our house. It causes us to wake up and start the day much earlier. Before, I would get up with little time to spare and rush off to work. Since we moved in, we wake up early to restart the fire and make coffee. Sometimes Simi will write, or we will both read, or talk, but often we just sit together for a while and slowly wake up. When you have 1–2 hours in the morning where you can dwell calmly, drinking coffee, and not hurrying, you feel ten times better. We tend to continue this routine into the summer, waking up even earlier with the sun, and keep the coffee pot with a few candles instead of the wood stove. [Simon Sarris]

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