The economic data this week continued to portray a deceleration in the economy, but the most anticipated highlight was Chairman Powel’s comments at the Jackson Hole Symposium. We’ve always had a distaste for the symposium. We view it as a Davos-like affair, attended by an elite group that considers themselves above their constituents. To us, that sends the wrong message about the mission of the Central Bank. Especially given the mess the Federal Reserve has created with excessively easy monetary policy.
We’d describe the speech as being saccharine-like in the in description of the current inflationary impulse. The speech didn’t follow the post-FOMC press conference structure in which a question & answer period followed. Because of that, there were whispers that Powell would offer a mea culpa to the mess that he oversaw, but that was not to be. Instead, he painted a “Pollyanna” picture of the current state of affairs. Of that, there were 3 “jaw dropping” quotes that we need to bring to your attention. They are, in chronological order of their mention in the speech, “The absence so far of broad-based inflation pressures,” “longer-term inflation expectations have moved much less than actual inflation…suggesting that households, businesses, and market participants also believe that current high inflation readings are likely to prove transitory,” and finally, “Today we see little evidence of wage increases that might threaten excessive inflation.”