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Inflation

bilby

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American kids don't want these jobs. They just want to sit around, smoke dope and excogitate about the fluidity of their gender.
If there are jobs you can’t fill, you are not offering high enough wages.

It’s basic supply and demand. Gender fluidity has bugger all to do with it.
 

Metaphor

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One of the main drivers of inflation was the federal government pumping too much money into the economy.
No, it was supply. We had a supply crunch when demand started getting back to normal. Then we had a shipment crunch, not enough people to move everything. And now oil is through the roof making every involved more expensive.

The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy when one considers how much the economy deflated due to the pandemic. The Government was trying to keep things from being lower, not expanding faster.
The US government injected trillions into the economy during 2020 and 2021.
The economy lost trillions.
That does not make your statement 'The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy...' true. It printed 80% of dollars the US ever had over 22 months.
 

Loren Pechtel

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Big oil producers went heavily in debt to finance dividends and stock buybacks (thereby raising share prices and executive bonuses). With interest rates likely to rise these companies, already heavily in debt, may not be eager to increase their debt load even to finance their ... gasp ... actual business.
I still would like to see a measure that companies can pay interest or they can pay dividends, not both.
 

Swammerdami

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One of the main drivers of inflation was the federal government pumping too much money into the economy.
No, it was supply. We had a supply crunch when demand started getting back to normal. Then we had a shipment crunch, not enough people to move everything. And now oil is through the roof making every involved more expensive.

The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy when one considers how much the economy deflated due to the pandemic. The Government was trying to keep things from being lower, not expanding faster.
The US government injected trillions into the economy during 2020 and 2021.
The economy lost trillions.
That does not make your statement 'The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy...' true. It printed 80% of dollars the US ever had over 22 months.

I'm afraid I will have to agree with Messrs. Derec and Metaphor here. Giving people extra dollars to spend while the pandemic gave them fewer goods to buy obviously tended to increase prices. This was exacerbated by the fact that stimulus checks reduced some people's incentive to work, further lowering the supply of goods and services.

This is not to say that the stimulus checks were the major reason for inflation, nor that they were necessarily ill-advised. The nation was faced with a severe crisis and excessive partisanship limited the options. It is unfortunate that one political party prefers electoral success over the welfare of the nation and therefore roots for an opposition President to fail.

If the inflation of 2021 subsides by 2023 it should have limited long-term impact. Unfortunately, chain reactions may give momentum to inflation. Raising interest rates will risk a fall in asset valuations, a credit crisis, and recession. I do not think there is any obviously correct policy path forward, especially given the fact of political gridlock.

I'm not sure about the U.S.G. "print[ing] 80% of dollars the US ever had over 22 months." In another thread we seem unable even to agree on the definitions of "dollars" or "money." :)
 

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This is not to say that the stimulus checks were the major reason for inflation, nor that they were necessarily ill-advised.
The direct stimulus payments were the least of it though. Consider stimulus payments in conjunction with all the other programs, like the expanded unemployment benefits (that paid many people more than they would get going back to work, incentivizing not working), expanded child tax credit, rental assistance (in conjunction with the eviction moratorium) and the student loan freeze. That adds up to a lot of money flooding the economy.

And yes, when the economy was largely shut down most of these programs made sense, although some (like the unemployment benefit) were poorly designed. All of these programs were kept on way too long. That last direct stimulus check did not need to happen. The student loan freeze is inexplicably still going on even though payments and interest should have resumed a year ago at least.

The nation was faced with a severe crisis and excessive partisanship limited the options. It is unfortunate that one political party prefers electoral success over the welfare of the nation and therefore roots for an opposition President to fail.
That initial response was bipartisan, and hasty, which is why mistakes were made in how different programs were implemented. PPP has been plagued with a lot of fraud for example.

What US needs is a series of plans and programs that can be implemented quickly in an emergency. Military plans for every contingency. Our financial policies should also have contingency plans, so they do not have to be hastily designed as an emergency unfolds.

But as I said these plans were kept on too long, well after the economy reopened. That was a mistake that drove inflation higher than it would have been otherwise.

If the inflation of 2021 subsides by 2023 it should have limited long-term impact. Unfortunately, chain reactions may give momentum to inflation.
True. There is a lot of inertia when it comes to inflation because inflation expectation is itself a driver of inflation. If people expect high inflation, they will spend now rather than later and demand raises to compensate for expected inflation and both of these things increase inflation.

Raising interest rates will risk a fall in asset valuations, a credit crisis, and recession. I do not think there is any obviously correct policy path forward, especially given the fact of political gridlock.
Stagflation is the worst of both worlds, and I certainly do not envy Jarome Powell and the Fed right now. They need to calibrate interest rate increase carefully lest they trigger a recession.

I'm not sure about the U.S.G. "print[ing] 80% of dollars the US ever had over 22 months." In another thread we seem unable even to agree on the definitions of "dollars" or "money." :)
We certainly had a huge increase in M1 supply between April and May 2020 according to this chart. M2 increased less extremely, but it still increased quite a bit.
 
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Derec

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If there are jobs you can’t fill, you are not offering high enough wages.
Or there is too much incentive not to work.

It’s basic supply and demand.
It is. And US paid people an extra (i.e. in addition to regular unemployment) $15/h full time not to work. Of course people were not eager to work retail or food service jobs given such a sweet deal.
 

Derec

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Or US producers willing to fill that gap.
The US producers are producing more than ever, well over 10 Mbbl/d. Most of it is from fracked shale wells, the boogeyman of the squady left.
oilgas.png


Some five years ago, "Wall St experts" were squeaking about how anything over $50 a barrel and US producers would swoop in. Now all I'm hearing is investors want US oil producers to "maintain capital discipline".
And they did swoop in. US increased oil production quite a bit since 5 years ago, only broken by the 2020 COVID collapse in demand.
But that also means that the most profitable plays are already producing and marginal cost for every additional bbl/d of production gets more and more expensive.
Add to that an administration that is not exactly friendly to oil and gas industries, and esp. fracking without which we could not be producing even half of the oil and gas we are producing. Note that it was Biden's former boss who, for purely political reasons, cancelled Dakota Access Pipeline permit after 95% of the pipeline had been completed already. What will Biden do when the next pipeline for fracked oil or gas is needed? He already killed Keystone XL, so we know he is not too pipeline friendly.

I've got another term for "maintaining capital discipline".
Believe it or not, oil companies are businesses, not charities. They are seeking profit in an uncertain political landscape. Biden is under a lot of pressure from his left flank to be even less friendly to oil and gas companies. Some on his left are demanding he kill DAPL even though it has successfully transported half a million bbl/d of light sweet crude for five years.
Nevertheless, fossil fuel companies greatly expanded US oil and gas production over the last 10-15 years thanks to the shale revolution/fracking. But that also means that the most easily accessible plays are already tapped in order to get to quite impressive ~12 Mbbl/d. Increasing it from that level is not easy, or cheap.
 
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Derec

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(OPEC doesn't give a damn anymore)
Is it that they are not giving a damn anymore or that they cannot easily increase supply in the short run?
Any projects have a lead time from commencement to start of production. And many projects were cancelled/delayed in 2020.
Add to that that as time goes on it will be more difficult to extract oil from the ground. Saudi Arabia in particular is relying on fields like Ghawar that have been producing for more than 70 years for most of its production.
It's not as easy as turning a spigot to produce more oil.
 

Derec

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No, it was supply.
Things are rarely monocausal. It is both a supply crunch and the trillions pumped into the economy on the demand side.
You had more money (due to government injecting money) chasing fewer goods and services (due to shutdowns and lingering supply issues). The two reinforce each other. It's not an either/or.

The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy when one considers how much the economy deflated due to the pandemic. The Government was trying to keep things from being lower, not expanding faster.
The US government definitely did pump a lot of money into the economy.
And regardless of what the government was trying to do, they kept the pandemic largess going on too long (the student loan freeze is inexplicably still going on despite college graduate job market having recovered a long time ago!) with the result of inflation being higher than it had to be.
 

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Or US producers willing to fill that gap.
The US producers are producing more than ever, well over 10 Mbbl/d. Most of it is from fracked shale wells, the boogeyman of the squady left.
View attachment 38907


Some five years ago, "Wall St experts" were squeaking about how anything over $50 a barrel and US producers would swoop in. Now all I'm hearing is investors want US oil producers to "maintain capital discipline".
And they did swoop in. US increased oil production quite a bit since 5 years ago, only broken by the 2020 COVID collapse in demand.
But that also means that the most profitable plays are already producing and marginal cost for every additional bbl/d of production gets more and more expensive.
Add to that an administration that is not exactly friendly to oil and gas industries, and esp. fracking without which we could not be producing even half of the oil and gas we are producing. Note that it was Biden's former boss who, for purely political reasons, cancelled Dakota Access Pipeline permit after 95% of the pipeline had been completed already. What will Biden do when the next pipeline for fracked oil or gas is needed? He already killed Keystone XL, so we know he is not too pipeline friendly.

I've got another term for "maintaining capital discipline".
Believe it or not, oil companies are businesses, not charities. They are seeking profit in an uncertain political landscape. Biden is under a lot of pressure from his left flank to be even less friendly to oil and gas companies. Some on his left are demanding he kill DAPL even though it has successfully transported half a million bbl/d of light sweet crude for five years.
Nevertheless, fossil fuel companies greatly expanded US oil and gas production over the last 10-15 years thanks to the shale revolution/fracking. But that also means that the most easily accessible plays are already tapped in order to get to quite impressive ~12 Mbbl/d. Increasing it from that level is not easy, or cheap.
My emphasis.
Swoop? You call this swooping? They swooped 2013-2020 when the price was bouncing around $50 a barrel. They've come back in something far short of swooping since 2020 while the price doubled.
I'll stand on the original articles I posted regarding investors pressing for less investment and more return. So the investors make hay and the rest of the country suffers for it, especially those who can least afford it. What is happening in the oil markets today is the poster child for why our capitalism run amok system does not work.


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Swammerdami

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Stagflation is the worst of both worlds, and I certainly do not envy Jarome Powell and the Fed right now. They need to calibrate interest rate increase carefully lest they trigger a recession.
. . .
We certainly had a huge increase in M1 supply between April and May 2020 according to this chart. M2 increased less extremely, but it still increased quite a bit.
Yes, as I've said often the FRB is trying to steer between Scylla and Charybdis and will probably fail.

But as for your graphs, did you notice that the Y-axis has $19 Trillion where Zero should be, so a 5% increase looks like a 2000% increase? I clicked somewhere hoping to make the graph more useful and was invited to Start a Free Trial instead.

For graphs of economic data I don't think you can do better than fred.stlouisfed.org. That particular graph just compares inflation rate with Baa bond yields but you can click 'Edit Graph' and, with practice, construct a wide variety of useful graphs. Remember to click 'Share Links' before linking to your custom graph here.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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(OPEC doesn't give a damn anymore)
Is it that they are not giving a damn anymore or that they cannot easily increase supply in the short run?
Saudi Arabia can likely drown us all in oil and quickly. But the leadership has other goals in there.
Any projects have a lead time from commencement to start of production. And many projects were cancelled/delayed in 2020.
Add to that that as time goes on it will be more difficult to extract oil from the ground. Saudi Arabia in particular is relying on fields like Ghawar that have been producing for more than 70 years for most of its production.
It's not as easy as turning a spigot to produce more oil.
Is Derec defending OPEC? I must have bumped my head last night. I'm not reading things right.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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The economy lost trillions.
That does not make your statement 'The US Government didn't pump much money into the economy...' true. It printed 80% of dollars the US ever had over 22 months.

I'm afraid I will have to agree with Messrs. Derec and Metaphor here. Giving people extra dollars to spend while the pandemic gave them fewer goods to buy obviously tended to increase prices.
How? What is the economic model for that? I'd like equations. The US economy lost 20+ million jobs in an unprecedented short period of time. The US economy dropped over 30%!

In the 4th qtr of 2019, the US GDP was $21.7 trillion (adj annual rate). 2nd qtr of 2020, the US GDP was $19.5 trillion. It was a rate drop that was unprecedented as well. Assuming the US economy only gained $0.2 trillion per qtr in lieu of the pandemic, that would mean that in 2020, the US economy lost over $5 trillion. So unless the stimulus was notably greater than economic loss, inflation is caused by the stimulus.
This was exacerbated by the fact that stimulus checks reduced some people's incentive to work, further lowering the supply of goods and services.
The stimulus checks did no such thing. It is possible that the unemployment bonus did, however, receiving a check of a few grand every 6 months isn't enough to consider not working. Also, the fact that the US economy added a record 6.4 million jobs in 2021 takes away this myth that people didn't want to work.
This is not to say that the stimulus checks were the major reason for inflation, nor that they were necessarily ill-advised. The nation was faced with a severe crisis and excessive partisanship limited the options. It is unfortunate that one political party prefers electoral success over the welfare of the nation and therefore roots for an opposition President to fail.

If the inflation of 2021 subsides by 2023 it should have limited long-term impact. Unfortunately, chain reactions may give momentum to inflation. Raising interest rates will risk a fall in asset valuations, a credit crisis, and recession. I do not think there is any obviously correct policy path forward, especially given the fact of political gridlock.
Interest rates were the driving cause of the 2008 recession. And Trump's influence on the Fed in his Presidency led to continued artifically lower interest rates. Higher interest rates aren't a bad thing.

Localized inflation was caused by supply issues, then shipping clogs, then more generalized due to shipping being expensive because oil supply is a little short because the global industry has a 1920's mindset. This has all be caused by a interconnected global economy running at a particular level that was greatly disturbed by the pandemic. The outcome is unique because the cause was unique.
 

Swammerdami

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I'm afraid I will have to agree with Messrs. Derec and Metaphor here. Giving people extra dollars to spend while the pandemic gave them fewer goods to buy obviously tended to increase prices.
How? What is the economic model for that? I'd like equations. The US economy lost 20+ million jobs in an unprecedented short period of time. The US economy dropped over 30%!

In the 4th qtr of 2019, the US GDP was $21.7 trillion (adj annual rate). 2nd qtr of 2020, the US GDP was $19.5 trillion. It was a rate drop that was unprecedented as well. Assuming the US economy only gained $0.2 trillion per qtr in lieu of the pandemic, that would mean that in 2020, the US economy lost over $5 trillion. So unless the stimulus was notably greater than economic loss, inflation is caused by the stimulus.
(I assume you meant ". . . inflation is NOT caused by the stimulus.")
But how do you figure you can replace lost production with stimulus checks? That's like saying you can save someone suffering from malnutrition with injections of sugar (or heroin — pick your metaphor!).

The purpose of stimulus is to stimulate DEMAND. But the pandemic slowdown was more driven by a shortfall in SUPPLY, rather than demand.

Anyway, I did write "This is not to say that the stimulus checks were the major reason for inflation, nor that they were necessarily ill-advised. "
This has all be caused by a interconnected global economy running at a particular level that was greatly disturbed by the pandemic. The outcome is unique because the cause was unique.

Yes, I've complained about the problem of Hyper-efficiency. Some modern efficiencies (like "just-in-time scheduling") can back-fire, and expose fragility. The 2008 crisis was provoked by the hyper-efficiency of slicing and dicing mortgage packages, and selling derivatives on derivatives. Recently I linked to an interesting article blaming hyper-efficiency (though it didn't use that term) for a recent rise in world hunger despite record levels of agriculture.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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I'm afraid I will have to agree with Messrs. Derec and Metaphor here. Giving people extra dollars to spend while the pandemic gave them fewer goods to buy obviously tended to increase prices.
How? What is the economic model for that? I'd like equations. The US economy lost 20+ million jobs in an unprecedented short period of time. The US economy dropped over 30%!

In the 4th qtr of 2019, the US GDP was $21.7 trillion (adj annual rate). 2nd qtr of 2020, the US GDP was $19.5 trillion. It was a rate drop that was unprecedented as well. Assuming the US economy only gained $0.2 trillion per qtr in lieu of the pandemic, that would mean that in 2020, the US economy lost over $5 trillion. So unless the stimulus was notably greater than economic loss, inflation is caused by the stimulus.
(I assume you meant ". . . inflation is NOT caused by the stimulus.")
But how do you figure you can replace lost production with stimulus checks? That's like saying you can save someone suffering from malnutrition with injections of sugar (or heroin — pick your metaphor!).
No, it isn't like saying that at all. Stimulus checks amounted to small amounts of money. Nothing compared to unemployment assistance. There was a loss in GDP of $5 trillion, the stimulus checks didn't come close to over-riding that.
The purpose of stimulus is to stimulate DEMAND. But the pandemic slowdown was more driven by a shortfall in SUPPLY, rather than demand.
Pandemic slowdown was a sudden drop in demand, not supply. Hospitality services vanished because there was no longer demand due to the soft shutdown.
Anyway, I did wrote "This is not to say that the stimulus checks were the major reason for inflation, nor that they were necessarily ill-advised. "
This has all be caused by a interconnected global economy running at a particular level that was greatly disturbed by the pandemic. The outcome is unique because the cause was unique.
Yes, I've complained about the problem of Hyper-efficiency. Some modern efficiencies (like "just-in-time scheduling") can back-fire, and expose fragility. The 2008 crisis was provoked by the hyper-efficiency of slicing and dicing mortgage packages, and selling derivatives on derivatives. Recently I linked to an interesting article blaming hyper-efficiency (though it didn't use that term) for a recent rise in world hunger despite record levels of agriculture.
The slicing and dicing however, was enabled by the substantial inflation of the US Housing market, which was caused by the low interest rates and the Fed's short-sightedness on the impact of the housing inflation, as that was the main driving force of the US economy during the W years. Without it, there would have been a much slower economy.
 

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You forgot to include oil company price gouging.
What "gouging"? All prices are a function of supply and demand. And oil companies have hardly a high net profit margin to begin with.
Oil producers control the supply part of the equation and are deliberately not increasing that supply keeping prices artificially high.


Several of the world's largest oil companies reported first-quarter earnings in recent weeks, giving investors new detail as to how sky-high gas prices are bolstering firms' bottom lines. Performance, in a word, was stellar. ExxonMobil reported a net profit of $5.5 billion, more than doubling its earnings from the year-ago period. Shell notched its strongest quarterly profit ever, and Chevron posted its best earnings quarter in nearly a decade.

A new analysis from the Center for American Progress examined five major oil companies — Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips — as gas prices soar.

The authors of the Center for American Progress post wrote that, in the first quarter of 2022, these companies "brought in more than 300 percent more in profits than in the first quarter of 2021. That is a total of more than $35 billion in profits in just three months."

"In fact, these five companies' first-quarter profits alone are equivalent to almost 28 percent of what Americans spent to fill up their gas tanks in the same time period," the authors added.

The windfalls mark a seismic shift from how oil companies were performing at the start of the pandemic. The first wave of lockdowns saw demand for energy crater. Crude oil prices even turned negative in the spring of 2020 as companies rushed to get unwanted oil off their hands.

The US is now experiencing what happens when the market swings in the opposite direction, and companies with pricing power are making a killing.

Oil companies are also spending huge amounts of money on stock buy backs.

Big Oil on course for near-record $38bn in share buybacks

Western energy majors are on course to buy back shares at near-record levels this year as soaring oil and gas prices enable them to deliver bumper profits and boost returns for investors.

The seven supermajors — including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron — are poised to return $38bn to shareholders through buyback programmes this year, according to data from Bernstein Research. Investment bank RBC Capital Markets put the total figure higher, at $41bn.

That would be almost double the $21bn in buybacks completed in 2014 — when oil last traded above $100 a barrel — and the biggest total since 2008. The plans underscored the strength of companies that are reaping the rewards of a resurgence in energy demand as pandemic lockdown restrictions are rolled back.

Gas prices are at record levels and oil is trading at a seven-year high of more than $90 a barrel, resulting in big profits for the supermajor group rounded out by TotalEnergies, Eni and Equinor.
 

Swammerdami

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Pandemic slowdown was a sudden drop in demand, not supply. Hospitality services vanished because there was no longer demand due to the soft shutdown.
Many people would have been happy to go to resorts, restaurants, or on cruises if they could. But the SUPPLY of unrestricted hospitality had fallen due to distancing rules and lockdowns.

This is not just a matter of semantics. Giving people enough money to visit Disneyland will not increase visits to Disneyland if Disneyland is shut down.
 

bilby

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If there are jobs you can’t fill, you are not offering high enough wages.
Or there is too much incentive not to work.

It’s basic supply and demand.
It is. And US paid people an extra (i.e. in addition to regular unemployment) $15/h full time not to work. Of course people were not eager to work retail or food service jobs given such a sweet deal.
$15 is a fucking pittance. Nobody should be paid so little.

That you think not working is such a ‘sweet deal’ tells me only that you haven’t been unemployed for any length of time.

I have, and I can assure you that nobody is doing it for the oh-so-lucrative free cash.
 

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As the song says ... you ain't seen nothin' yet.

I don't blame the supply chain, and all the money pumped into the economy isn't the government stepping back and letting the market do it's magic.

This is the end result of a process that began long ago but has recently taken off like a rocket. It is creating a negative feedback loop as well, wherein higher prices lead to more higher prices. It will take a few years to stabilize from what we have now, assuming nothing else bad happens in the mean time. That is a very big assumption given our current "leadership".

We're in for quite a ride folks. It's going to get very bumpy.

Another indicator of how bad things are getting, we are indeed experiencing shortages. Expect that to get worse as well.
 

Swammerdami

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Derec

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Swoop? You call this swooping? They swooped 2013-2020 when the price was bouncing around $50 a barrel. They've come back in something far short of swooping since 2020 while the price doubled.
Yes, I do call it swooping. And more. Production was doubled, thanks to shale/fracking, and maintained for years. The slump in 2020 was because of the unprecedented demand falloff, but it has since recovered to ~11-12 Mbbl/d, number one in the World.

I'll stand on the original articles I posted regarding investors pressing for less investment and more return. So the investors make hay and the rest of the country suffers for it, especially those who can least afford it.
That is nonsensical. US is producing about as much as it can based on our reserves. We are certainly producing far more relative to our reserves than say KSA. Anything more and you draw down your reserves more quickly, risking a faster decline of production faster.
Also, oil production is only one part of the equation. You have transportation (Obama and Biden showed themselves hostile to pipelines, as did MI Gov Whitmer) and refining as well. And our refining is pretty much at capacity. It is difficult to build new refineries because of regulation and NIMBYism, and impossible to do so quickly.
No new refineries likely ever built again in the U.S., Chevron CEO warns

What is happening in the oil markets today is the poster child for why our capitalism run amok system does not work.
US is producing >10 Mbbl/d based on proven reserves of ~50 Gbbl.
Socialist Venezuela manages less than 1 Mbbl/d on proven reserves of ~300 Gbbl.
I'll take the capitalist system.

By the way, even your own charts show US producing oil at a very high level. There was a drop in 2020, due to low demand, but production recovered quickly. What do you expect? US to produce 15 Mbbl/d? More?
 

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Yes, as I've said often the FRB is trying to steer between Scylla and Charybdis and will probably fail.
Yeah, those are treacherous waters to navigate.
The 75 basis points increase of interest rates is probably too much.
I interpret the modest gains stock market had today not as an endorsement of the Fed move by the investors, but rather as investors seeking to buy at a discount after the substantial drop on Monday.

But as for your graphs, did you notice that the Y-axis has $19 Trillion where Zero should be, so a 5% increase looks like a 2000% increase? I clicked somewhere hoping to make the graph more useful and was invited to Start a Free Trial instead.
I did notice. Having non-zero x-axes is sadly very common. That isolates the graph itself, allowing greater resolution and avoids wasting space (which is why they do it), but it exaggerates any movements. It is especially egregious when you have stock prices and it may have dropped from $51 to $49 or something but on the graph it looks like it lost all its value and its time for execs to be on a ledge somewhere.

For graphs of economic data I don't think you can do better than fred.stlouisfed.org.

Noted.
 

Derec

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Saudi Arabia can likely drown us all in oil and quickly. But the leadership has other goals in there.
No, they can't. I doubt they have any meaningful short-term spare capacity (they probably could manage 500 kbbl/d, or something modest like that), much less "drowning us in oil" kind of spare capacity (which I interpret as raising production by at least 4-5Mbbl/d).
Saudis mostly rely on very old fields for most of their production. Ghawar is still responsible for ~1/3 of their total production and it has been online since the 50s.

Is Derec defending OPEC? I must have bumped my head last night. I'm not reading things right.
I am defending geological realities.
 

Swammerdami

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But as for your graphs, did you notice that the Y-axis has $19 Trillion where Zero should be, so a 5% increase looks like a 2000% increase? I clicked somewhere hoping to make the graph more useful and was invited to Start a Free Trial instead.
I did notice. Having non-zero x-axes is sadly very common. That isolates the graph itself, allowing greater resolution and avoids wasting space (which is why they do it), but it exaggerates any movements. It is especially egregious when you have stock prices and it may have dropped from $51 to $49 or something but on the graph it looks like it lost all its value and its time for execs to be on a ledge somewhere.

Even worse are Finance.Yahoo's graphs. They often have a NEGATIVE y-axis value where zero should be! The values BELOW zero are shaded red or green. (They need the negative ordinates when the stock was once low-priced, to give them room for their volume indicators. Look up GameStop (GME) and select '5Y' time-scale to see what I mean. It looks like GME is only double its price of two years ago.)

A decade(?) ago Google had an absolutely splendid stock-price grapher, allowing multiple stocks on the same graph, just a click away from anyone who could spell, say 'MSFT Quote.' If I looked at stocks regularly I'd have been happy to pay for the facility. But the facility suddenly disappeared without the slightest whimper of explanation.
 

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Swoop? You call this swooping? They swooped 2013-2020 when the price was bouncing around $50 a barrel. They've come back in something far short of swooping since 2020 while the price doubled.
Yes, I do call it swooping. And more. Production was doubled, thanks to shale/fracking, and maintained for years. The slump in 2020 was because of the unprecedented demand falloff, but it has since recovered to ~11-12 Mbbl/d, number one in the World.

I'll stand on the original articles I posted regarding investors pressing for less investment and more return. So the investors make hay and the rest of the country suffers for it, especially those who can least afford it.
That is nonsensical. US is producing about as much as it can based on our reserves. We are certainly producing far more relative to our reserves than say KSA. Anything more and you draw down your reserves more quickly, risking a faster decline of production faster.
Also, oil production is only one part of the equation. You have transportation (Obama and Biden showed themselves hostile to pipelines, as did MI Gov Whitmer) and refining as well. And our refining is pretty much at capacity. It is difficult to build new refineries because of regulation and NIMBYism, and impossible to do so quickly.
No new refineries likely ever built again in the U.S., Chevron CEO warns

What is happening in the oil markets today is the poster child for why our capitalism run amok system does not work.
US is producing >10 Mbbl/d based on proven reserves of ~50 Gbbl.
Socialist Venezuela manages less than 1 Mbbl/d on proven reserves of ~300 Gbbl.
I'll take the capitalist system.

By the way, even your own charts show US producing oil at a very high level. There was a drop in 2020, due to low demand, but production recovered quickly. What do you expect? US to produce 15 Mbbl/d? More?
I expect them not to pull capacity off line and not return it when needed. The US is off about 1M barrels a day from 2020 peak. Fully a third of this was due to damage at a PA plant that will not be brought back on line.
So they did not forsee a need to bring more capacity on line in 2021? Or they thought they'd drag their feet and enjoy the spread for awhile? Or any time there is significant damage to a refinery, they're just going to walk away from it?

And considering your article, what is stopping them from continuing this trend? A finger-wagging president?
What is going to happen is they are going to ensure that as demand drops, supply will remain tight so they can ride this horse until it drops.

Yeah, no one is making hay here:

Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 12.00.08 PM.png
 

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I expect them not to pull capacity off line and not return it when needed.
That's not how it works. Capacity is not something static. Existing wells peak and start declining and have to be replaced by new wells. The record 2020 capacity cannot be brought back. At best, new equivalent capacity can be brought in, but nobody is going to increase production to levels where marginal revenue exceeds marginal costs.
And I have already mentioned long term considerations - the faster you drink your milkshake, the sooner it is gone. It is not wrong for oil companies to take into account longer term sustainability of these plays.

The US is off about 1M barrels a day from 2020 peak. Fully a third of this was due to damage at a PA plant that will not be brought back on line.
You mean the oil refinery? That's another thing. No matter how much oil you produce, it will not be turned into gasoline and diesel without adequate refining capacity.

So they did not forsee a need to bring more capacity on line in 2021? Or they thought they'd drag their feet and enjoy the spread for awhile? Or any time there is significant damage to a refinery, they're just going to walk away from it?
It has been almost impossible to build new refineries in the US for decades due to regulation.

And considering your article, what is stopping them from continuing this trend? A finger-wagging president?
I do not think finger-wagging will accomplish much. Neither will "windfall taxes" or price controls.
Biden could invoke defense production act or at least loosen regulations in order to expand refinery capacity but that would firstly take a while and secondly would go over like a lead-balloon with his oil and gas hating base.

What is going to happen is they are going to ensure that as demand drops, supply will remain tight so they can ride this horse until it drops.
I don't think so. Price equilibrates based on supply and demand. If oil companies could demand any price they want like you seem to think they can, why were prices much lower before?

Yeah, no one is making hay here:
What do you propose as a solution?
 

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Marginal cost of such a production expansion, even if it could be feasibly done, would be very high. If marginal costs are higher than marginal revenue, you lose money. Why should companies do that?
Besides, that would not solve the refining bottleneck. It would not increase gasoline supply, but it would reduce our oil imports. But as I said, it would not be practical.
 

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How? What is the economic model for that? I'd like equations.
Not sure what equation you expect here. It's about the principle - more money chasing fewer goods and services means increased inflation.
The US economy lost 20+ million jobs in an unprecedented short period of time. The US economy dropped over 30%!
The economy reopened relatively soon after the initial shock. But the money being pumped into the economy persisted for a long time afterwards. Last stimulus payments were authorized in March 2021, a year after the pandemic started and more than half a year since the economy pretty much reopened. The extended unemployment benefits were likewise not stopped until March 2021, long after they should have been ended. And the pause on student loan repayments and interest accrual is still ongoing.

The stimulus checks did no such thing. It is possible that the unemployment bonus did, however, receiving a check of a few grand every 6 months isn't enough to consider not working.
It is true that the direct stimulus payments had a relatively small effect by itself, but it is about the cumulative effect of all these programs, from stimulus to extended unemployment, rental assistance, expanded child tax credits, and student loan pause. Together all these programs had a massive effect and they were kept on long after the economy reopened in the 3rd quarter of 2020.

Interest rates were the driving cause of the 2008 recession. And Trump's influence on the Fed in his Presidency led to continued artifically lower interest rates. Higher interest rates aren't a bad thing.
First of all, the Fed is not taking direction from the executive branch.
Second, where do you get the idea that low interest rates were the "driving cause" of the 2008 recession?

Localized inflation was caused by supply issues, then shipping clogs, then more generalized due to shipping being expensive because oil supply is a little short because the global industry has a 1920's mindset. This has all be caused by a interconnected global economy running at a particular level that was greatly disturbed by the pandemic. The outcome is unique because the cause was unique.
You had all these things on the supply side. But you also had huge amounts of money being pumped into the economy by the pandemic policies that were kept on way too long. It's a combined effect. It's not either or.
 

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Oil producers control the supply part of the equation and are deliberately not increasing that supply keeping prices artificially high.
BS. US is producing more oil than at most other times in US history, all thanks to fracking (which the left hates btw.)
It is not that easy, or cheap, to increase production from a very high level. We are producing more than Saudi Arabia, even though we have 1/5 of their proven reserves.
And yet somehow oil companies are the bad guys because they seek to make profit from their investment.
 

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$15 is a fucking pittance. Nobody should be paid so little.
I am talking US dollars. That's almost $22 Australian.

And you misunderstood. The extended unemployment was effective $15/h full time (aka $600/week) on top of regular unemployment, and all that for not working.

That you think not working is such a ‘sweet deal’ tells me only that you haven’t been unemployed for any length of time.
It certainly was a sweet deal while the extended unemployment was in effect, which was several months too long.

I have, and I can assure you that nobody is doing it for the oh-so-lucrative free cash.
Plenty people have. Extra $600/week plus waiving of the job search requirement was a pretty cushy deal while it lasted. And it lasted several months longer than it should have.
 

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Checkout google, riedel,manhatten-institute.org.
Manhatten Institute is a conservative organization. Brien Riedel is a conservative economist. Trump in four years added $7 trillion in deficits. Trump inherited a good economy. Had he done nothing at all the U.S. would have cut national debt by over $3 trillion. But in total, we ended up with $3 trillions more in national debt. Why are we here with roaring inflation and a looming recession. Trump played a big part of the problem. Mr. "Only I can fix it!" Did nothing to pay attention to these problems. No, it wasn't the Democrats that handed out these massive tax cuts to rich and corporate GOP supporters. This cannot be blamed for everything, but this seems to be being ignored. Now add in Trump's blowing the response to Covid-19.
 

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Marginal cost of such a production expansion, even if it could be feasibly done, would be very high. If marginal costs are higher than marginal revenue, you lose money. Why should companies do that?
Besides, that would not solve the refining bottleneck. It would not increase gasoline supply, but it would reduce our oil imports. But as I said, it would not be practical.
Haven't you heard? Oil company profits are at record high levels.
 

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You forgot to include oil company price gouging.
What "gouging"? All prices are a function of supply and demand. And oil companies have hardly a high net profit margin to begin with.
Oil producers control the supply part of the equation and are deliberately not increasing that supply keeping prices artificially high.


Several of the world's largest oil companies reported first-quarter earnings in recent weeks, giving investors new detail as to how sky-high gas prices are bolstering firms' bottom lines. Performance, in a word, was stellar. ExxonMobil reported a net profit of $5.5 billion, more than doubling its earnings from the year-ago period. Shell notched its strongest quarterly profit ever, and Chevron posted its best earnings quarter in nearly a decade.

A new analysis from the Center for American Progress examined five major oil companies — Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips — as gas prices soar.

The authors of the Center for American Progress post wrote that, in the first quarter of 2022, these companies "brought in more than 300 percent more in profits than in the first quarter of 2021. That is a total of more than $35 billion in profits in just three months."

"In fact, these five companies' first-quarter profits alone are equivalent to almost 28 percent of what Americans spent to fill up their gas tanks in the same time period," the authors added.

The windfalls mark a seismic shift from how oil companies were performing at the start of the pandemic. The first wave of lockdowns saw demand for energy crater. Crude oil prices even turned negative in the spring of 2020 as companies rushed to get unwanted oil off their hands.

The US is now experiencing what happens when the market swings in the opposite direction, and companies with pricing power are making a killing.

Oil companies are also spending huge amounts of money on stock buy backs.

Big Oil on course for near-record $38bn in share buybacks

Western energy majors are on course to buy back shares at near-record levels this year as soaring oil and gas prices enable them to deliver bumper profits and boost returns for investors.

The seven supermajors — including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron — are poised to return $38bn to shareholders through buyback programmes this year, according to data from Bernstein Research. Investment bank RBC Capital Markets put the total figure higher, at $41bn.

That would be almost double the $21bn in buybacks completed in 2014 — when oil last traded above $100 a barrel — and the biggest total since 2008. The plans underscored the strength of companies that are reaping the rewards of a resurgence in energy demand as pandemic lockdown restrictions are rolled back.

Gas prices are at record levels and oil is trading at a seven-year high of more than $90 a barrel, resulting in big profits for the supermajor group rounded out by TotalEnergies, Eni and Equinor.

I do remember just a few months ago, big oil was whining they were not being allowed to bid on off shore drilling leases. Democrats replied that they already had locked leases on millions of acres of off shore areas and WERE NOT DRILLING IN MOST OF THESE LEASES. GOP claims it is bad government policies that are causi g high gas prices is a fraud, a lie, and incompetence. The question got asked, if you are not drilling on vaste properties you are holding drilling rights on, why do you even more properties? I believe Congress woman Katie Porter pointed out these facts and roasted oil company CEOs.
 

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You forgot to include oil company price gouging.
What "gouging"? All prices are a function of supply and demand. And oil companies have hardly a high net profit margin to begin with.
Oil producers control the supply part of the equation and are deliberately not increasing that supply keeping prices artificially high.


Several of the world's largest oil companies reported first-quarter earnings in recent weeks, giving investors new detail as to how sky-high gas prices are bolstering firms' bottom lines. Performance, in a word, was stellar. ExxonMobil reported a net profit of $5.5 billion, more than doubling its earnings from the year-ago period. Shell notched its strongest quarterly profit ever, and Chevron posted its best earnings quarter in nearly a decade.

A new analysis from the Center for American Progress examined five major oil companies — Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips — as gas prices soar.

The authors of the Center for American Progress post wrote that, in the first quarter of 2022, these companies "brought in more than 300 percent more in profits than in the first quarter of 2021. That is a total of more than $35 billion in profits in just three months."

"In fact, these five companies' first-quarter profits alone are equivalent to almost 28 percent of what Americans spent to fill up their gas tanks in the same time period," the authors added.

The windfalls mark a seismic shift from how oil companies were performing at the start of the pandemic. The first wave of lockdowns saw demand for energy crater. Crude oil prices even turned negative in the spring of 2020 as companies rushed to get unwanted oil off their hands.

The US is now experiencing what happens when the market swings in the opposite direction, and companies with pricing power are making a killing.

Oil companies are also spending huge amounts of money on stock buy backs.

Big Oil on course for near-record $38bn in share buybacks

Western energy majors are on course to buy back shares at near-record levels this year as soaring oil and gas prices enable them to deliver bumper profits and boost returns for investors.

The seven supermajors — including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron — are poised to return $38bn to shareholders through buyback programmes this year, according to data from Bernstein Research. Investment bank RBC Capital Markets put the total figure higher, at $41bn.

That would be almost double the $21bn in buybacks completed in 2014 — when oil last traded above $100 a barrel — and the biggest total since 2008. The plans underscored the strength of companies that are reaping the rewards of a resurgence in energy demand as pandemic lockdown restrictions are rolled back.

Gas prices are at record levels and oil is trading at a seven-year high of more than $90 a barrel, resulting in big profits for the supermajor group rounded out by TotalEnergies, Eni and Equinor.

I do remember just a few months ago, big oil was whining they were not being allowed to bid on off shore drilling leases. Democrats replied that they already had locked leases on millions of acres of off shore areas and WERE NOT DRILLING IN MOST OF THESE LEASES. GOP claims it is bad government policies that are causi g high gas prices is a fraud, a lie, and incompetence. The question got asked, if you are not drilling on vaste properties you are holding drilling rights on, why do you even more properties? I believe Congress woman Katie Porter pointed out these facts and roasted oil company CEOs.
Approximately 9,000 leases they are just sitting on.
 

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Analysis by Moody's Analytics (that bunch of socialists) finds that

"Arguably the most controversial of the U.S. fiscal support packages was the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan that became law in March 2021. The ARP has been criticized as being too large, overstimulating an already fast-improving economy and significantly contributing to the currently uncomfortably high inflation.

This perspective is not consistent with our results(…)

The ARP has contributed to the acceleration in inflation by supporting increased consumer demand, but this occurred almost entirely in the first half of 2021 when higher inflation was not considered a problem (see Chart 13).

Inflation only became uncomfortably high when the Delta wave of the pandemic hit in late summer last year. This inflation was a surprise, but so too was the Delta variant, as it came immediately on the heels of the vaccine rollout and widespread optimism that the pandemic was more-or-less behind us. Delta slammed consumer demand, as it prompted renewed self-quarantining and border restrictions, which by itself would moderate inflation, but it also severely disrupted supply. Global supply chains were badly scrambled, as this wave of the pandemic was especially hard on Southeast Asia, which was lightly vaccinated at the time, and where most supply chains begin."

Moody's chief economist summarises:

"Aggressive fiscal policy was key to ending pandemic recession and behind the quick recovery. The controversial American Rescue Plan helped avoid a double-dip, has not materially added to the high inflation and while costly, would have been as costly to taxpayers without it."
 

ZiprHead

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Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said unemployment in the U.S. would need to rise significantly for an extended period of time if it has any chance of curbing the inflation that is wreaking havoc on global markets.

“We need five years of unemployment above 5% to contain inflation—in other words, we need two years of 7.5% unemployment or five years of 6% unemployment or one year of 10% unemployment,” Summers said in a speech in London on Monday, Bloomberg reported.

“There are numbers that are remarkably discouraging relative to the Fed Reserve view,” he added.

Unemployment in the U.S. currently sits at 3.6% after U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report released in early June.

Inflation historically has an inverse relationship with unemployment, meaning when inflation is high, unemployment is typically low. In basic macroeconomic principle and in the opinion of Larry Summers’, higher unemployment would translate to people having less discretionary income to purchase goods, lowering demand and reducing prices—i.e. inflation.
 

Swammerdami

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With views like —  Lawrence_Summers#Views_on_banking_regulation — it's evident that Larry Summers was never the brightest bulb in the Econ Department. But now I'm wondering if someone should give him the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test!

On an episode of Boston Legal Alan Shore (James Spader) must defend a physician charged with murder for euthanizing her dying patients. This was at the height of the Katrina disaster; her hospital lacked electricity and even drinking water; the other hospital staff had fled to save their own lives; the patients were soon to die very painful deaths from dehydration. The doctor's increasing their morphine dose was merciful and humane.

But euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana. How could Alan Shore convince the jury to acquit? The great Denny Crane (William Shatner) revived from his "mad cow" stupor long enough to comment on New Orleans during the disaster: "Up was Down and Down was Up." Normal rules did not apply. Shore used that idea in his closing argument and the jury acquitted.

Look at what's going on. Everything seems like a parody of capitalism, or even classical economic thought. Up is Down and Down is Up.

Everywhere we see contradictions:
  • We need to wean people from gas guzzlers and other carbon-based fuels? Let's cut gasoline taxes and dump our precious Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  • We coddled Americans through the pandemic, paying them not to work, and now finally they have their jobs back in service industries? Larry Summers wants to reduce the supply of AND demand for service workers. Only this time don't help them out with checks: If they cut down on purchases of bread and baby food, maybe those prices will fall.
  • American corporations had record-breaking profits at the height of the pandemic. Might they have used those profits to give workers raises, reduce debt, build a factory in America for a change, or — heaven forbid! — pay their fair share of taxes? Nah. They used the money for record-setting stock buybacks; the S&P 500 companies alone were buying shares at a $1 Trillion annual clip at the height of the pandemic. (I suppose that's fallen with the recent market fall: Perverse executive incentives often lead to 'Buy High, Sell Low' behavior in buybacks.)
  • Mounting debt to pay for munitions and tax breaks for the super-rich threaten the safe-haven status of the world's greatest currency? Never mind that. Put your savings in NFTs and crypto. And in vacant farm-land. Wouldn't want the lower classes to be able to build homes there instead of in the over-priced cities.

Focus on the Consumer Price Index has distracted attention from Producer Prices. Prices of iron ore, steel, and steel products have skyrocketed. (Unlike with gold or petroleum, there is no single number for iron/steel price, but many numbers have tripled. WPU101 itself is almost triple what it was in 2015.) And many of the spiking producer prices are NOT set in the domestic economy. Steel and oil in particular are priced in global markets, with U.S. enemies like Russia and China being major exporters.

The U.S. is facing the worst confluence of problems since the Great Depression or the Second World War. Now would be a good time to come together as a nation and pull together toward solutions. Instead we have one political party intent on re-electing a functionally-illiterate sociopathic grifter. Crazed politicians in the QOPAnon Party are being shoved aside because they're not crazy enough! Instead of seeking bipartisan solutions to problems, QOPAnon politicos encourage their sheeple followers to make death threats against elected officials.

Up is Down and Down is Up.
 

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Does she? It is like America never had interest rates above 2%. A Mortgage rate of 5% is being looked at as apocalyptic?

The Fed has increased the rate in an attempt to keep inflation from becoming a spiraling thing. Currently, inflation is being driven by outside forces and not monetary policy. However, if that inflation continues, it'll expand and the Fed is addressing that.
 

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Does she? It is like America never had interest rates above 2%. A Mortgage rate of 5% is being looked at as apocalyptic?

The Fed has increased the rate in an attempt to keep inflation from becoming a spiraling thing. Currently, inflation is being driven by outside forces and not monetary policy. However, if that inflation continues, it'll expand and the Fed is addressing that.
How is making getting a mortgage more expensive going to change the drivers of the inflation we have today?
 

Swammerdami

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BOTH Warren and Powell make good points. There are no easy solutions.

Powell's primary and urgent duty is to quell expectations of inflation. I was pleased to see him put blame on the asset price bubble.

Does this mean that expensive progressive agenda may need to be put on hold once again, due to problems provoked in part by hyper-capitalist greed? Yes. But that is the real world we live in.
 

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Hey Elizabeth, there are two job openings for every applicant out there. But you go ahead and paint a picture of the Feds actions causing people to lose their jobs. It’s what you do.
You know the odds are against Powell getting this throttled just right and us not going into recession. But hey, this way you’re all set up for if and when we do, you can refer back to your meeting as show how you knew it all along. If Powell does happen to get it right, all is forgotten. Literally. No one’s throwing Powell a parade for saving what is most near and dear to us all.
What a thankless fucking job this 68 year old man has that needs to neither pad his resume nor draw a paycheck at this stage of his life. Why does he do it? Must be the meetings with Elizabeth.
 
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