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Sunday, June 16, 2013


There is no question that trust in Central Banking is at an all time high.  All time low spreads on Junk Bonds, and all time low VIX is testament to that.  As is the recent sell off in Gold.

The only question is: Is this trust justified?

 Prakash Loungani of the International Monetary Fund wrote very starkly about Central bank economists: "Their record of failure to predict recessions is virtually unblemished." 

He found this to be true not only for official organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, and government agencies but for private forecasters as well. They're all terrible. Loungani concluded that the "inability to predict recessions is a ubiquitous feature of growth forecasts." 

Most economists were not even able to recognize recessions once they had already started.

In plain English, economists don't have a clue about the future.

If you think the Fed or government agencies know what is going on with the economy, you're mistaken. Government economists are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Their mistakes and failures are so spectacular you couldn't make them up if you tried. Yet now, in a post-crisis world, we trust the same people to know where the economy is, where it is going, and how to manage monetary policy.

Central banks say they will know the right time to end the current policies of quantitative easing and financial repression and when to shrink the bloated monetary base. However, given their record at forecasting, how will they know?

The Federal Reserve not only failed to predict the recessions of 1990, 2001, and 2007, it also didn't even recognize them after they had already begun. 

Financial crises frequently happen because central banks cut interest rates too late and hike rates too soon.
Trusting central bankers now is a big bet that (1) they'll know what to do, (2) they'll know when to do it.

Sadly, given the track record, that is not a good wager. Unfortunately, the problem is not that economists are simply bad at what they do; it's that they're really, really bad. They're so bad that it cannot even be a matter of chance.

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