Why QE Tapering Will Never Happen
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Fed will never implement a substantive tapering program, because if they do, there's a huge risk that such an effort would send this economy into a deep recession.
Had the Fed implemented tapering right after QE2, there may have been a chance to avoid an economic collapse, but now the scales are tipped. There simply is no way avoid recession. The Fed has run out of tools to regulate its adoption of QE.
They can't lower rates, because rates are at zero. They can't stimulate investment because inflation will balloon the balance sheet. All the Fed can do is continue to buy bonds, keep rates at zero and hope by some miracle the economy doesn't slowly wither from atrophy.
But hope is not a strategy, and the economy is skating on thin ice in a heated environment. None of the Fed policies have worked. Unemployment reporting is a ruse. Sure, it's down, at least in the manner the government reports unemployed workers (by failing to mention the growing underemployed and shrinking hourly wages).
There's an argument that could be made that we may have never emerged from recession. And to obfuscate that, the government has invented new ways to tally the GDP, giving us lame excuses that we're a new type of economy. Calculating GDP the old way would result in negative growth.
The stock market is up, but the retail investor has not yet returned with any kind of force. Funds are divesting, volume is extremely low, and volatility has sustained record lows for record operands of time. Without volatility, the market becomes stagnant and it becomes more difficult to make a profit. The only people with an advantage are those investors with lots of money. They are the principal benefactors of the QE, and they are providing false liquidity. If QE tapers, liquidity will fall, then there will be no market.
The Fed thinks low inflation is our savior, that it provides us a buffer that affords us time, but time is not on our side. The interest on the debt continues to grow and time is the enemy. Eventually those payments become due; at some point, our debtors will see the futility of keeping this game going and call on those debts.
The only course the Fed can take is to up the ante and increase the QE program by orders of magnitude. I'm not arguing that this is an answer. I'm simply stating what will be needed to keep the house of cards standing.
There's really no way to stop the course we are on. The QE is needed to keep interest rates low, to accommodate the big money guys, which results in low volatility. Low volatility is like low blood pressure, eventually it gets so low that it fails to reach the extremities. The extremities atrophy, so we need more QE to flood the system. It's a vicious, doomed cycle.
-- Written by Ernie Varitimos, author of the Apple Investor blog.
At the time of publication, Varitimos had no positions in stocks mentioned.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV