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The 0 problem


Above chart encompasses most of my adult life.


Simple in retrospect- rates peaked out in '82 and have trended lower since. So assets generally appreciated as the capitalization rate declined. Wages didn't need to increase, at least for a while, and generally speaking, the more assets you had or the more you were able to control through judicious borrowing, the richer you got.


Now we've been at or near 0 for nine years and the fabric is fraying but of course the asset appreciation addiction is tough to break because there's a whole lot of pain if they go down (for instance, probably plenty of croppers with negative cash flow the last few years who are being kept afloat by fat balance sheets).


An interesting thing is that if you look at broad US stock indices, the market really hasn't done much but equal inflation since 2001 and it took a huge amount of effort to keep it there. The action moved to real estate in the 00s and for a while to commodities. It's hard to find a broad asset class that's hot now, we're just trying to recover or hold onto the gains.


I think it is probably like a shark that has to swim or die and I'm not at all optimistic about negative rates or other unconventional policy overcoming the 0 bound.


It seems likely to me that is going to overwhelm whomever is the next President, FedHead, etc.



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Honored Advisor

Re: The 0 problem

The level of borrowing kind of nails it to the floor....

And in that respect it is somewhat an "opinion poll" on federal policy

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