In September, Doug warned in these pages that the U.S. economy was on the brink of a crisis that would cause real pain for American households and businesses. Economists at the time posited that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to combat surging inflation, while necessary, portended an impending recession, or worse, a period of stagflation.
Six months later, the economic crisis that we – along with many others – feared is unfolding before our eyes, and has taken on a new dimension.
Last week, in the span of 72 hours, two banks – Silicon Valley Bank, the 16th largest bank in the country, and the New York-based Signature Bank – collapsed, forcing the federal government to intervene in order to avert a breakdown in the global financial system.
The consequences of these failures will take months to actualize, but in all likelihood, other banks will rein in lending, triggering a credit crunch and greater volatility in the stock market. Taken together with the continued fallout from the quickest pace of interest rate hikes since the 1980’s, the most likely result will be a recession.
To be sure, Fed Chair Jerome Powell had no choice but to raise interest rates to tame historically high inflation….