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Is MMT A Free Lunch?

If you have been paying attention to the current political landscape, chances are you have heard the acronym MMT thrown around. But what exactly is MMT? In today’s post we will try to answer this question by boiling it down to its foundational substance. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/is-mmt-a-free-lunch/

The Virtuous Circle

The Fed’s aggressive and creative policy response to the financial crisis is one of the most controversial and widely misunderstood financial topics in the modern era. The impact of the Fed’s actions on the real economy is debatable, but few would argue it has had significant influence on the psychology of financial market participants. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-virtuous-circle/

Behind The Curtain

The Federal Reserve is tasked with promoting high employment and low inflation via the effective management of money and interest rates. But how? Let’s pull back the curtain on the three primary policy tools the Fed uses to implement policy. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/behind-the-curtain/

A Three Legged Stool

Our last several posts have covered the history of banking in the United States, starting around the time of the Revolutionary War and leading up to the modern era of central banking. We shift gears this week to an examination of how the US Federal Reserved is structured and the roles of its various branches. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/a-three-legged-stool/

The World’s Most Powerful Institution

In this week’s post we will look at two important eras in the history of the Federal Reserve which are marked by turning points that expanded the Fed’s mandate and eventually turned it into, as some would argue, the most powerful institution in the world. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-worlds-most-powerful-institution/

Shaping the Course of History

Last week we reviewed some of the historical context of the US banking system leading up to the creation of the Federal Reserve. In this week’s post we will continue our walk through history by taking a close look at the time directly before and after the Federal Reserve was created in 1913 http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/shaping-the-course-of-history/

Laying the Foundation for the Fed

The roots of the Federal Reserve can traced all the way back to our country’s origins and the American Revolutionary War. Although the US was able to successfully finance its war efforts and ultimately defeat the British, the value of the currency they used to finance the war quickly eroded to nothing after the war due to the fact that they had no formal institutional backing. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/laying-the-foundation-for-the-fed/

Where Do We Go From Here?

October has been a month that most stock market investors would rather forget. At one point last week, all three major US stock market indices had given up all their year to date returns. The pickup in volatility and pull-back from the recent high has everyone asking where the market is going from here. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/where-do-we-go-from-here/

Long Way From Neutral

Monetary policy is simply not as exciting as it used to be. That said, last week Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made a passing comment that caused the markets to sit up and take notice. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/long-way-from-neutral/

What Is Cryptocurrency?

According to the Wall Street Journal, “When you boil it [cryptocurrencies] down, all it really is, is an online ledger. The difference is that there’s no government backing it. The ledger is maintained automatically on a network of computers.” http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/what-is-cryptocurrency/

History Of Money

There are two key takeaways from the history of money. First, pretty much anything can act as a form of money as long as everyone agrees that it is so and secondly, no form of money is immune to failure. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/history-of-money/

All Together Now

Last Friday we caught a glimpse of the extent to which financial markets are still addicted to monetary stimulus when stocks, bonds and commodities all tumbled in response to comments made by Fed officials. When everything is grinding upward, moving All Together Now is not a problem, but that sentiment changes quickly when asset classes begin to nosedive in tandem. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/all-together-now/

Are We In Another Housing Bubble?

Home prices on a national basis have been on the rise for over four years now. This past June marked the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year national home price appreciation. With all of this positive momentum and the memory of the last housing crisis still fresh in everyone’s minds, many are wondering whether we are in yet another housing bubble. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/are-we-in-another-housing-bubble/

NIRP Is The New ZIRP

Zero interest rates are intended to induce growth in borrowing, lending and general risk taking throughout the economy. But what happens when ZIRP doesn’t have its intended effect on economic activity? You move to the next logical extreme: NIRP. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/nirp-is-the-new-zirp/

Bad, Bad, Bad

Last Friday the US Department of Labor offered up a shocking, and largely confusing, jobs report for the month of May. Payrolls increased by just 38,000, the lowest in more than five years and a full 120,000 below the consensus expectation of a 158,000 increase. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/bad-bad-bad/

Ostrich Finance

In a recent study respondents were asked how they would pay for a $400 emergency. Rather surprisingly, 47% of the respondents indicated that they wouldn’t be able to cover the expense out of their savings or checking account balances. What does that say about our collective finances? http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/ostrich-finance/

LendIt 2016 Takeaways

Last week I attended and spoke at a breakout session for the 2016 LendIt USA conference in San Francisco. For those that don’t already know, LendIt is a two day conference centering on the rapidly growing FinTech industry. There were over 3,500 attendees all soaking up the wealth of information on "alternative financing." http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/lendit-2016-takeaways/

The Year of Meh

According to Wikipedia, the word Meh is the verbal equivalent of a shrug of the shoulders. This word perhaps perfectly encapsulates the feelings most investors have toward their returns in 2015. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/the-year-of-meh/

Maybe We're All Confused

We have often argued that chaos theory has a lot to teach us about global economics. The seemingly infinite confluence of factors all intersecting in the economic space time continuum make it very difficult to decipher what current data means for the future. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/maybe-were-all-confused/

What is a Rate Hike Anyway?

We are now entering a new phase of the Fed cycle. After nearly seven years of zero percent interest rates we are finally on the precipice of an interest rate increase. In light of this, we thought now would be a good time to dig into what all this rate hike talk really means. http://www.seasoninvestments.com/insights/what-is-a-rate-hike-anyway/

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