Lunch at the Fed

I recently attended a lunch discussion at the Fed building here in Denver hosted by the World Trade Center. The topic of discussion: The outlook for the U.S. Dollar.

First, a Federal Reserve senior economist gave us an overview of what Fed is and how it works. Surprisingly, he was quite direct and open about Fed’s control over increasing & decreasing the money supply by simply deciding to buy or sell “government securities” from or to its member banks. (If everyone would have grasped that statement fully, the “forecasting” of USD activity would have been unnecessary.)

The floor was then passed to Russ Root, ForEx advisor at Amegy Bank. He mentioned PPI (Producer Price Index), aka “pipeline inflation”, being around 9.2%. He made some comments about Fed chairman Bernanke currently asking Congress to consolidate & fortify Fed’s powers. I understand Fed’s job is essentially to attempt to rid America of the economic cycle, thus making all our lives recession/depression-free. Economically speaking, this is impossible when operating a system on fiat currency. So, each time a new Fed chairman gets appointed, he has failed at his task before starting it. For this reason, word of Bernanke asking for “more powers” is alarming. It’s like losing a game of blackjack and doubling your bet after each loss… throwing more money or power after a losing game is a silly thing.

Mr. Root described the situation with the dollar as “the race to the bottom”. To summarize his message, “we win”. We’ve won the race to the bottom, and his bet is on a stronger dollar over the next 18 months. Oddly enough, he didn’t explain why or how the dollar’s rebound will occur beyond the logic of “what goes down must come up”. It’s not a surprising prediction considering the venue.

Beyond my thirst for knowledge relating to fully understanding money, my reason for attending this meeting was to consider joining the World Trade Center. Contrary to common awareness, the WTC is more than just a pair of buildings that toppled in Manhattan. It’s actually an association of individuals and companies involved in international trade. This interests me because I believe there are countless strong investment opportunities outside our borders. Most of the attendees of this lunch meeting were WTC members.

One WTC member posed the question, “The 30 year bond should be at 13%. How long will these other countries keep propping us up?” His concern wasn’t exactly addressed. I mean whoever does know “how long these other countries will keep propping us up” is going to become a rich (or richer) man applying that knowledge and keeping quiet. Of course, this was really more of a comment about his concern that our financial circumstances are currently highly dependent on foreign countries. I haven’t yet decided whether to join WTC. I am primarily looking to connect with international real estate brokers who can facilitate transactions in South America and Asia. Suggestions in comments appreciated.

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