Wiedemer: Fed Making ‘Huge Mistakes,’ Will Drive Inflation Higher

Friday, 27 Apr 2012 01:46 PM

By Forrest Jones and John Bachman

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The Federal Reserve won't rush to stimulate the economy due to weak first-quarter economic growth figures but hasn't shut the door on more intervention either, which would be a huge mistake, says Robert Wiedemer, financial commentator and best-selling author of "Aftershock."

The U.S. economy grew 2.2 percent in the first quarter, according to government data, below expectations for growth of at least 2.5 percent.

Orders for durable goods have fallen recently as well, further suggesting the U.S. economic recovery remains sluggish at best.

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The numbers stoked market concerns the Federal Reserve will pump liquidity into the economy by buying bonds held by banks, a stimulus tool known as quantitative easing (QE).

"The recovery has definitely slowed down recently," Wiedemer tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview. "We saw durable goods orders coming in significantly lower in fact one of the worst durable goods orders reports you have seen since 2009. That kind of fits in with that fixed investment decline in GDP, so I think the economy is slowing down and it's certainly not getting the kind of recovery we saw earlier."

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke himself has said he cannot rule out the need for quantitative easing.

Editor's Note: You Deserve to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

"In terms of another QE, I think Ben is going to hold off as long as he can but June is still a reasonable possibility, certainly if we see a slowdown. I think he's going to be reluctant to do anything too close to the election," Wiedemer adds. "I think June is probably his make-or-break month."

Quantitative easing often serves as lightning rod for debate.

Since the economic downturn, the Fed has rolled out two rounds of quantitative easing, snapping up $2.3 trillion in bonds from banks with the aim of steering the country away from deflationary decline and fostering conditions that favor hiring as well.

Critics say the policy weakens the dollar and will create inflationary pressures down the road.

"I think the Fed is making huge mistakes in what they are doing with the amount of money printing that they are doing. It's one of those things that is not going to show up right away, but when it does it's a massive problem," Wiedemer says.

The Fed has set an inflation target of 2 percent and insists consumer prices will rise close to that figure this year, with which Wiedemer agrees.

"Where we start to differ is when we go out over the longer term. I think we are going to see much higher inflation over the next two to four years," says Wiedemer, who recently released an updated edition of his best-selling book, "Aftershock."

The economy won't likely slip into a full-fledged recession but it will limp along at best, which doesn't bode well for President Barack Obama.

"I do see some underlying trends downward so I would say that by the election it's not going to look good for Obama at this point, but I would not say we are going to be in full-fledged recession," says Wiedemer, a managing director of Absolute Investment Management, an investment-advisory firm for individuals with more than $120 million under management.

Editor's Note: You Deserve to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

"Let's keep in mind things should have been better this first quarter because of the weather and everything and yet they came out significantly under expectations of 2.5 percent and well under the hopes of 3 percent."

Unseasonably warm winter weather brought many construction projects online earlier this year, which pumped up jobs numbers in January and February and made the labor market look better than it really was.

Healthy jobs reports came to a halt in March, when the government reported the economy picked up a net 120,000 jobs, far less than expected.

The official unemployment rate stands at 8.2 percent, but the problem, Wiedemer points out, is that those unemployed workers who quit searching for work aren't counted as part of the labor force, which lowers the percentage of workers counted as unemployed.

"You can have a worsening job market and declining unemployment, so that's always a key figure to try to predict. But I would be surprised if it went below 8 percent before the end of the year and it certainly could trend higher," says Wiedemer, a regular contributor to Financial Intelligence Report, the flagship investment newsletter of Newsmax Media.

"Keep in mind that heading into a recession, jobs don't always fall that quickly and in fact, often jobs growth is still reasonable just as you are starting to go into a recession."

About Robert Wiedemer
Robert Wiedemer is a managing director of Absolute Investment Management, an investment-advisory firm for individuals with more than $200 million under management. He is a regular contributor to Financial Intelligence Report, the flagship investment newsletter of Newsmax Media. Click Here to read more of his articles. Discover more about his latest book, "Aftershock," by Clicking Here Now.


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