LordOpie, on 03 April 2012 - 11:24 PM, said:
With all the money the fed is printing to buy back loans, when will we feel he effects of inflation? Will that terminate this temporary sweet spot?
The Fed has indeed dramatically increased the monetary base, but the overall money supply has not really gone off of its long-run trend. This is because the money supply = the monetary base * the money multiplier -- and the money multiplier dramatically decreased due to the financial crisis (as banks reduced their lending). Once the financial system starts to get back on track, the multiplier will start to go up, which would lead to the money supply going up (which would then cause inflation to increase), but it is most likely that as the multiplier increases, the Fed will shrink the monetary base so that the overall money supply stays reasonably on trend and we don't get high inflation. (In fact, the quite low interest rates on long-term loans indicates that this is exactly what the financial markets are predicting is going to happen.)
CaP, on 03 April 2012 - 11:27 PM, said:
Ummm....isnt it economics 101 that we live in a consumer society where the consumer drives economic growth? Youd rather everyone horde their pennies and drive down gdp and drive up unemployment?
Consumer spending does affect the economy in the short run, but long-run economic growth is associated more with investment in capital goods than it is with consumer spending. (Although there are a lot of interaction and feedback effects in these relationships which aren't really worth going into right now.) [I will readily admit, though, that fluctuations in consumer spending can definitely affect the economy in the short-run.]
And as for the overall theme that the economy has hit a sweet-spot, I'm not nearly so optimistic. Yes, things look to be on the right track, but there is no way that I would say that we are out of the woods.