To boil things down, there are really only two roads we can follow in an environment of such as this. The economy will either muddle along at a sub-par rate of about 2 percent until balance is restored, or we go down the path of running up debt in an effort to produce higher growth rates in the near term.
Some have called it a Putin bond rally. Or it might be new Fed Chairperson Yellen's determination to keep interest rates as low as possible, until economic prosperity returns to Main Street. It might as well be because our employment rate is still above 6 percent, with many millions of the long term unemployed out of work.
Headline news reports that our very own Federal Reserve Board has finally put its foot down. "No more" is the message from the Fed. This announcement is causing some financial pundits along with mortgage brokers to stand up and shout out that you better refinance now while you still can.
This was "regulation," in today's United States: Don't do your job - or else! (Or else you'll be fired for doing it.)
This week, SunTrust Bank will join some of the other big banks in making it more expensive for customers to use an out-of-network ATM. Other things to...
While there's evidence that the Fed's large-scale asset purchase program had direct impact of lowering longer-term interest rates, there's less evidence that it hit its broader, indirect target of investment, growth and jobs.
The issue of rising fiscal imbalances is worth dwelling on. A number of economic observers have asked the question: Are countries heading back to the bad old days of rapid debt accumulation that may need to be forgiven down the line? Are these fears well grounded?
If we can't reform our system, we at least need to communicate to baby boomers that they need to stay at their decently-paying jobs at least another decade, rather than "retiring" and ending up taking part-time, benefit-less minimum-wage jobs to try to make ends meet.
Bond traders seem to have seen Steve Martin's The Man With Two Brains so often they have forgotten it was a comedy. And these are the folks the equity markets are supposed to pay attention to?
In recent years, private-sector forecasters have been surprisingly accurate at forecasting changes in the unemployment rate, but they have been equally inaccurate when forecasting changes in the federal funds rate, the baseline interest rate controlled by the Fed.
So far this year, the mid-cap banks are outperforming their behemoth cousins, and we now may know why. The big question, though, is how detrimental have these new regulations been to the economic recovery?
Our global economy is still in flux, and much of the world is "hooked" on cheap money. The abrupt change or repricing of those conditions could lead to severe volatility in financial markets.
Forces at work from Tokyo to Kiev have been roiling the U.S. stock market for a couple of week. But the financial sushi that is now on the menu in Japan, and Russia's "Crimea of the Century" are only part of the story.
The drag created by such big amounts of student debt is likely to reverberate throughout the economy for many years to come. This is just another reason we expect to remain stuck in a long period of sub-par economic growth.
We're beginning to see a shift in how money moves. Similar to the very efficient corporate markets like bond trading and commercial paper, money is beginning to move to consumers too.
The recent spat between the Federal Reserve and Citigroup underscores the complexity of today's banking balance sheets. The episode is a warning shot across the bows of regulators.