Bert Dolmen, Contributor
The forecasts of the Federal Reserve have always been amazingly inaccurate , at least for the past four decades that I have been watching the Fed.
In fact, for 38 years at my firm, Dohmen Capital, we have used the Fed as an excellent contrarian indicator at important turning points, especially as the economy goes into recession. When the Fed Chair tells Congress “there is no recession in sight,” it confirmed our work that either the recession was immediately ahead, or had already started.
That has worked very well for us. The accuracy is close to 100%. But the big question: Why should this be? The Fed has more than 700 Ph.D. economists analyzing the statistics. Many of the top Fed governors are considered intelligent, although that is not the same as being “smart.”
On the other side, we and other small research firms with excellent forecasting records, usually don’t have any Ph. D. economists on staff. Could that be a benefit? Just the odds of chance would say that amongst these highly educated people, there are a bunch who really “get it.”
I conclude that a very serious problem is that the Fed Chair is appointed, and beholden to, the President. Thus, the Fed can never warn of disaster, serious policy problems that need to be resolved quickly, or pointing out what is wrong and correcting it. Small independent research firms like mine and others can be candid. In fact, that’s what clients expect. They don’t want someone adding “political correctness” into their forecasts.
Because the global situation is so critical at this time, the U.S. Congress should immediately change this dependency of the alleged “independent” Fed with the White House, which has existed for decades. The Fed Chair should not have to fear being dismissed for being honest about the true state of the economy.
Let’s look quickly at some of the current economic indications, which contradict the Fed’s cheerful message as expressed by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on June 21.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that May carloads, including commodities, plunged 10.3% year-over-year. That’s a meaningful decline in such an important number.
After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285,000 from April, and down 552,000 from a year ago.