Let’s settle one thing up front. We’re clearly witnessing a speculative bubble in the financial markets. This time is no different. This mania will end the same way they all do: in tears.
I started banging the gong in mid-2020 about the imminent risk of financial crisis stemming from three potential causes: a severe market correction, a deteriorating U.S. fiscal position from unsustainable growth in deficits and debt, and the inflation that was likely to follow.
At that time, this viewpoint was greeted with a heavy dose of skepticism. Inflationary views were considered fringe. Respected economists were quick to point out the lack of demand for money relative to rapidly expanding supply, slack in the lockdown economy, and prevailing expectations for deflation based on recent history. Wall Street has little incentive to call a market bubble. Fees are made and bonuses paid when optimism, activity and volatility are high, not by predictions of impending doom. The euphorias of bubbles are like the best narcotics—stimulative and somewhat hypnotic. But the bigger the high, the worse the comedown.