Thursday, July 04, 2024

There should be a higher interest rate for speculation and a lower one for creating something.

The Federal Reserve walks a tightrope between raising interest rates which could lead to recession and lowering interest rates which could lead to inflation. Trying to figure out the best "one size fits all" rate is problematic.

I've often thought they should be able to set different interest rates for different uses of the money. Rates should be high for speculation on existing assets and low for creating new assets. For instance speculation that bids up the price of existing housing should be discouraged while construction of new housing should be encouraged.

Housing has been one of the big drivers of inflation in recent years. Raising interest rates tries to cool speculation and inflation, but it also can reduce construction of new housing which would increase supply.

There is a similar situation in business as money can be used just to bid up stock prices and have companies buy one another (existing assets) or money can be used to build new assets.

Government can be a good use for low interest rates when it uses money for improving infrastructure.

Rather than having a one size fits all solution for interest rates, I think there should be a way to have different interest rates for different uses of the money.

I also think the Federal government, thus Biden these days, gets blamed for things like housing inflation, but much of the cause of short supply is caused by local zoning ordinances. The Feds don't usually weigh in on zoning decisions done at the local level.

State governments, such as here in Washington State, are now starting to try and weigh in on local zoning to increase housing supply. Recent state legislation is starting to discourage cities, within the state, from having too much restrictive single family zoning.

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