June 15th, 2022 3:32 PM by Gregg Mower
Has the Federal Reserve Board gone too far with raising Interest Rates? The Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation. Yes, we have high inflation, but has it been caused by high demand for goods and services or is it normal demand with a diminishing supply of goods? This question is not a question the Federal Reserve (the Fed) has not addressed properly as when inflation started to be seen the Fed initially called it “Transitory” meaning short term, turns out they were wrong. So now after the Fed realizes their mistake, they are raising interest rates at a far faster rate than they would have normally.
When the Fed raises interest rates, they only control one rate which is the Federal Funds Rate or the rate at which banks can borrow from the Fed. The Banks, in turn, raise their prime lending rate to the public which affects business loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit, but not the interest rates for your typical home loans. The reason home loan rates increase or decrease when the Fed raises rates is the fact the home loan rates are driven by the FNMA, FHLMC, and GNMA and the bonds that are spun off of those securities. Wall Street will actually set the rates based on a perception of what will happen as a result of the Fed raising its interest rate. There is another factor at play here that needs to be addressed and that is the fact that the Fed has been buying mortgage securities since the pandemic started and now they are selling their holdings off reducing the “balance sheet” as some of you may have heard.
The Fed is raising interest rates to slow down the economy in the hopes that the demand side of the economy will slow due to the higher interest rates thus slowing the demand to borrow money and expand. This philosophy is fine and works if both sides of the demand and supply curve are addressed. The problem I see here is that the Fed is overreacting to situations they can’t control. The Fed has no way of controlling the supply of goods and services they only can control the demand side. The problem with this philosophy in this economy is that I see normal demand with a shortening supply of goods and services. So, by trying to slow demand they are missing the fundamental problem and that is the supply side of the equation. We all have heard about China and its lockdowns over the last several months. This is causing a supply shortage of consumer goods, auto parts, microchips, clothes, and retail goods. The Fed can’t control the loss of these goods in our supply chain they are simply making it harder for American businesses to catch up to the loss of goods coming from overseas.
As the Fed tries to fight inflation by raising the rates and ignoring the supply side we will see a recession in the near future as the economy will have to pay so much more for the money that is needed to expand American Business. Oil prices are also a major factor in the inflation equation as we can all see at the pump. The Fed can’t control the demand for oil by raising interest rates, so as prices for oil continue to rise so will the price of goods and services until the price of oil is addressed by increasing supply or at least showing the American people that the government is working on freeing up resources to increase supply inflation will continue. As inflation soars and the Government doesn’t address the supply side of anything we will continue to see inflation and eventually with rates rising so high we will see an economy stagnate to the point where there is no possibility of expanding the economy with high rates to borrow money. This is called stagflation and I would argue we have been in this state for some months now with it worsening every day.
On the Real Estate and Mortgage side of rising interest rates, the signs will be obvious. As interest rates rise the affordability of homes will diminish even further. As demand for Real Estate dries up due to high-interest rates you will see the demand for home goods diminish as well. As the demand for money drops off with the high rates mortgage companies will be laying off workers and so will home improvement stores, home builders, and appliance stores. This ripple effect will cause other industries to have to lay off workers and the economy will slow so fast that you will have high prices for gas, food, and all services that revolve around them. Eventually, the prices of homes will go down due to high-interest rates and people out of work not being able to afford a home. I don’t want to scare people, but the government has been out of control of the economy for over a year now and it is showing and will continue to decline if logical decisions are not made. My fear is that what should be done and what is being done is all somehow politically motivated. Janet Yellen, the secretary of the Treasury of the United States, admitted that she made a mistake with inflation by not raising rates soon enough. Now fast forward to today the Chairman of the Fed Jerome Powell is glossing over the supply side of the equation for some reason and that should scare you as that is the core problem with inflation, not the demand side. So, I see the Fed raising rates to where we see a deep recession with mass layoffs on the horizon if they don’t stop with the interest rates and move to the supply side. Again, politics get in the way with this as the current administration is responsible for the price of oil as they have shut off possibilities of America producing more thus having to look to foreign sources of oil. Although this may look grim we are all Americans and we will persevere and prosper. To counteract rising interest rates look for new innovative home loan programs coming soon to help those get into homes in a changing world.