Lots of feedback from readers in the last few days. Since it’s Friday, I’m sharing some.
One regular took exception to my endorsement of the Harvard Business School report on competitiveness, saying it had nothing on addressing poverty, nothing on making corporations responsible for their errors, nothing on financial excess. If the nation’s politics are to be fixed, addressing these issues will have to be part of it.
Separately, Glenn Hutchins, who has established an eponymous program at Brookings to study such things, says my suggestion last week that the Fed’s “free money” experiment needs to end misses some fundamental points:
-If the Fed’s policy is misguided, the yield curve should be steeper, and long rates higher, than they are today.
-Long rates are largely determined by the markets’ view of inflation, and those are driven by expectations of global growth – not interest rate policy.
-What’s important is real (inflation-adjusted) rates, and those aren’t as low as they may seem. Moreover, statistics may be overstating inflation (and understating productivity), which means real rates are even higher.
-Negative rates in Japan and Europe suggest this not a U.S. “experiment,” but a global economic phenomenon, with solid grounding in ageing populations and slowing innovation.
Meanwhile, multiple readers have instructed me – some using blunt language – to keep politics out of these daily emails. I would love to comply, but can’t escape thinking the U.S. election is still the most important business story out there. As evidence, a survey of CFOs by Duke University this week reports one third of them say political uncertainty will put the brakes on their spending plans beyond the election, and could create a significant drag on the economy.