Dollars and Jens
Thursday, May 08, 2008
It's been quiet around here, what with Dean being on the trail and me failing to keep things going.
We did get a GDP report a few weeks ago, indicating that GDP rose .6% in the first quarter (I'm pretty sure that's real, not nominal). I saw a comment that excluding inventories and exports, the number would have been negative. I didn't see this portrayed as "the falling dollar is working," but that was my thought.
I suggested to my brother last fall that I thought the Fed should raise interest rates. I've backed off of that theory somewhat - I definitely still believe the Fed's current policy is inflationary, but it may help the financial and housing sectors adjust to new realities; if the Fed can keep inflation relatively controlled and stable, which I think they can, the good it does to mitigate the economic downturn may outweigh the inherent costs of inflation. If my brother has the chance to chime in, though, I defer to him on monetary policy.
I did make the Berkshire Hathaway meeting last weekend. I took detailed notes a few years ago, but learned that someone else would put better notes on the web; CNBC's notes are here. If I had to pick one headline, I'd say it's that Buffett approves of the Fed's actions in facilitating an orderly shut-down of Bear Sterns. If I get a second headline, it's that Buffett is a better stage actor than Susan Lucci. Of course, it was his stage.