Bernanke out by August, QE ends, rates up: Crash

According to one expert, Americans should prepare now because easy money will dry up. As Pimco's Bill Gross warned in his recent newsletter, "You're going to lose money investing.... because the central banks say so." In this Fed-driven rally, soon the Fed will be forced to stop printing cheap money.

By Paul B. Farrell
May 22, 2013, 12:02 a.m. EDT
Market Watch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — The “Dr. Boom” scenario: America is about to “unleash a spending spree. Years of self-denial give way to pent-up demand,” predicts UBS economist Maury Harris in USA Today’s bold lead story.

His clue? Consumer sentiment: “Harris estimates that in the next five years, catch-up consumption will boost annual consumer spending growth by a half point to above 3% from about 2%.”

Reassuring? No, wishful thinking. Be very skeptical. As Robert Kuttner, author of the new “Debtors’ Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Prosperity” once wrote in BusinessWeek, “What do you call an economist with a prediction? Wrong.”

Harris is bucking the headwinds of history. As Jeremy Grantham, chief strategist of the $100 billion GMO money managers, recently told InvestmentNews, the newspaper of record for America’s 90,000 professional investment advisers, “3% annual GDP growth is history.”

Here’s why you better be preparing today for a crash dead ahead. As Pimco’s Bill Gross warned in his recent newsletter: “You’re going to lose money investing ... because the central banks say so.” That’s right, this is a Fed-driven rally. Soon the Fed will be forced to stop printing cheap money.

No spending spree; Obama’s new Fed Chair has to raise rates

Here’s the alternative “Dr. Doom’s August scenario:” Aging bull market. Fifth year. Markets at risk. Down soon. August. Will Obama reappoint Bernanke again? No way. But who? New blood? Shake things up with Wall Street mastermind Mayor Michael Bloomberg? After more than two decades of Greenspan/Bernanke’s misguided, destructive monetary policies, America could use a guy like him at this crucial turning point.

But expect a safe bet. Obama favors a woman. The high rollers are already betting on Janet Yellen, vice chairman of the Fed, long-time monetary insider. Former San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank CEO. Also chairman of Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers.

But watch out, even a sure bet can misjudge hidden dangers lurking ahead of a Titanic like the $15 trillion U.S. economy. As the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Wirz wrote in March:

The Fed “won’t be able to keep a lid on interest rates forever.” So “large money managers such as BlackRock, TCW Group and Pimco are getting ready for the day when rates take their first turn higher. It isn’t coming anytime soon, these investors say. But when it does, they worry, the ascent will be swift and steep.”

Get defensive now, start preparing for a crash ... later is too late

Get it? Rates will go up. Way up. Very fast. And America’s 95 million Main Street investors will be unprepared. Markets will crash. Like 1994’s 24% bond crash after Fed rate increases, notes Wirz.

The big players say the crash “won’t happen soon.” Don’t believe them. They’re betting with trillions. And they are hedging their bets, already preparing for “when rates take their first turn higher,” because rates will soar “swift and steep,” and when that happens it will be too late to prepare.

“Dr. Doom,” the economist Nouriel Roubini is also hedging his bet, misleading investors, telling us to expect a “huge rally in risky assets” the next couple years “setting markets up for a major sell-off.”

Warning, a crash is more likely to happen in August 2013 than in 2015 when the next presidential election campaign is kicking into high gear. So start preparing for a crash when the new Fed chairman ends cheap money.

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