Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Two-Sided Coin

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There is a topic I believe is going to be exceptionally important over the next decade, and that is Central Bank Digital Currencies. Let me be clear at the outset that I am not a professional economist, nor am I a CBDC expert. I do have a couple of extra IQ points to rub together, however, and for both my sake and yours, I wanted to try to educate myself about this crucial topic.

It wasn’t all fun and games; reading some of the academia about this subject doesn’t exactly crackle with warm-blooded humanity, as with this excerpt:

When households endogenously select into banked and unbanked, the introduction of a CBDC, which pays interest and is assumed to be immune to theft, can be Pareto improving and always increases welfare of at least unbanked households. The economic mechanism driving the welfare implications focuses on the interaction between the new monetary policy tool introduced by an interest-bearing CBDC and banks’ limited commitment.

FEDS Notes, November 9, 2020, “Central Bank Digital Currency: A Literature Review”
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Ecce Homo

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You have a next-door neighbor. His name is Sam. He seems like a decent guy and seems to do all right for himself. And, for the purposes of this allegory, you happen to know a lot about Sam’s financial situation.

First off, he makes a good living. He pulls down $200,000 a year. Impressive! So he is able to sell whatever goods and services he has available and is willing to provide for that sum each year. Well done, Sam. It’s a good income.

Oh, he’s also $250,000 in debt. But big deal, right? After all, plenty of people have debt. Mortgages, for one thing. Debt is part of life. he’s on time with his payments. So lay off. His “debt to annual production” is 125%.

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The Influence of Fed Balance Sheet Growth

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First off, thanks to The Lone Ranger for inspiring this post in the first place.

And now let’s begin…

Starting with the bird’s eye view, the chart below shows all available data on the FOMC’s operations going back to 2007 (for a more detailed explanation with chart of all the FOMC operations current to Apr 2020, check out this excellent post I found here).

Except for the period between 2015 and the end of 2019, virtually all of the market gains were concurrent with FOMC operations. I will focus in this post on the periods of high complacency as identified by extremely high levels of the 100SMA (20wk SMA) of the Equity Put/Call ratio. If you want to read those posts, the first is here and the second is here.

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That Ship Sailed

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About a week ago, someone here pointed my attention to a new book called A Fiscal Cliff. I am absolutely loving it – – can hardly put it down – – and I’m sure to write a long review/summary of it once I’m finished with its 400+ pages. As a side note, even though the book is pretty much hot off the presses, its data is made out-of-date thanks to Covid. For one thing, it mentions how in ten years we might pass the record Debt-to-GDP level of 107% set back in 1946. Well, folks, put down your pencils. We have roared right past that level massively………….we’re up to where the CBO projected we’d be in the year 2060 already.