About the Spellman ReportLew Spellman is a Professor of Finance at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. The Spellman Report seeks to interpret current and future trends in the economy and financial markets from the perspective of history, theory, policy and market expectations.
- The Vulnerability of Private Wealth to Government Financial Stress
- QEs, Currency Wars, the Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin and the Route to “Modern” Inflation
- VIDEO – Texas Financial Market Roundtable 2012
- Roadblocks to Recovery an Interview with Dr. Lacy Hunt
- Frank Beck on Investing in Uncertain Times
Tag Archives: government debt
Negative interest rates pursued by central banks of distressed economies are more of a problem than a solution. They bleed investment income from financial institutions already facing asset write-offs. Currently, this is the quandary of Italy and its banks facing bankruptcy. Though a bailout is the norm for depositors of democratic socialist governments, Italy will be hard pressed to do so given budgetary and EU constraints. In this case, exit from the EU becomes an alternative. Continue reading
That the developed world’s governments are accumulating outsized debt shouldn’t be news to anyone. Unless there are some tricks up the government’s sleeves — and they are tricksters — there will be defaults. And here is the trick: force regulated financial institutions to buy and hold zero-rate perpetuity government bonds that pay neither interest nor principal. It’s the equivalent of repudiation without default at the expense of private wealth. We are well on the way to that. Continue reading
Tension is building among stock investors. Stock prices have levitated while the most fundamental determinant of stock price support— an uplift in corporate earnings — has gone soft. But on the other side of the ledger is the resolve of central banks to support asset prices. Will market logic or central bank buying prevail in these crosscurrents of stock price levitation?
In the wonky world of central banking, the Rx for reviving an economy comes down to reducing the cost of credit so that borrowers are tempted to borrow and spend. These notions, taught in central banking academies called graduate schools, are well-learned but not applied wisely. Negative interest rates put lenders on the road to extinction with profound consequences. Continue reading
We can chastise the Federal Reserve for being unable to get itself to move off of a zero interest rate (because doing so has harmful side effects), but the Fed has no other way to influence the economic growth machine. Only Congress and a President do, and the Fed would be doing us a service to state so publicly. Continue reading
In 1993, there was a great debate carried live on national TV between then-Vice President Al Gore and Dallas entrepreneur Ross Perot. The issue was the pros and cons of going global. Equally unusual in terms of today’s political alignment was the right-leaning Perot (as the Donald Trump of his time) arguing against globalism. His position was that the lower wages abroad would result in a “giant sucking sound” of jobs lost to lower-wage countries. Well two decades later, there is no doubt who got it right. Continue reading
For a country with little penchant to tax and a greater penchant to spend, financing its fiscal deficit is an ongoing chore. When it comes to financing its deficits, governments have tricks up their collective sleeves – not available to the private sector. What makes it easy to finance a deeply indebted country is that its debt is placed — not sold and doesn’t meet a market test. Hence yields are not a deterrent to further indebtedness. Continue reading
The antidote to a troubled macro environment since Keynes wrote the book in the 1930s Depression has been the dual demand-side sledgehammers of government deficit spending and monetary expansion. This has been Plan A to address a beleaguered economy and other things needing fixes. Having not worked miracles, governments at all levels across the globe are on to Plan B. Continue reading
We are living in profound times. The Great Recession, followed by epic levels of deficit spending sustained by monetary policy, is now having short-term remedial effects on the U.S. economy. But before we declare victory, we need to be clear … Continue reading