A one-time $5 trillion fiscal blowout causes a one-time rise in the level of prices, just enough to inflate away the value of the debt by $5 trillion. Then inflation stops, even if the Federal Reserve does nothing. The Fed is still important in fiscal theory. The Fed bought about $3 trillion of the new debt and converted it to interest-paying reserves. Giving people checks backed by reserves is arguably a more powerful inducement to spend than giving people Treasury bonds. Now, by raising interest rates, the Fed lowers current inflation but at the cost of more-persistent inflation. That smoothing is beneficial. These are core propositions of fiscal theory, stated ahead of time and at odds with conventional theories. Related: Waning Inflation, Supply and Demand and The Second Great Experiment Update
- Date Posted:
- August 1, 2023
The extra reward for holding stocks instead of bonds has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, threatening a recent hot streak for major indexes. One method for gauging the value of stocks is to compare their earnings yield—calculated by dividing a company’s expected earnings over the next year by its stock price—to the yield on government bonds, considered the closest thing to a risk-free return. The gap between the earnings yield of the S&P 500 and the yield on the 10-year U.S. government bond dropped to around 1.1pp last week, its narrowest since 2002. The spread to the yield on the 10-year Treasury inflation-protected security, seen by some analysts as the better benchmark because corporate earnings tend to adjust with inflation, has similarly fallen to its lowest level since 2003, at around 3.5pp.