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calls for the Fed to cut rates because of the Coronavirus

I've seen a few articles in the last couple of days calling for the Fed (and other central banks) to cut rates because of the Coronavirus.  I'm failing to understand how lower rates - in an already low interest rate environment - will have any impact on supply chain disruptions, CDC effectiveness, reduced travel, lock-downs of cities, schools, etc.  If the panic causes a run on banks - then perhaps some action by the Fed is warranted, but that would be more like QE or recent actions in the repo market - right?  I'd love to know Cullen's thoughts on this.

And yet another article today urging the Fed to cut rates.  At least Beckworth starts off stating the obvious:  monetary policy won't open padlocked factories, heal the sick, etc.  I just am skeptical that a rate cut will help stimulate the credit markets.


Wow- a 50 bps cut by the Fed- which at this point seems to be scaring the markets.  Oh my!  Maybe we should be taking this pandemic thing seriously if the Fed has actually cut rates already!  Meanwhile - I remain skeptical that this cut will motivate any significant borrowing by businesses.  It's too soon to tell, but mortgage rates have not moved much as far as I can see -so it remains to be see if home sales are helped.

There's going to be a real economic impact from all of this. No one knows how severe. So a rate cut is warranted, but unlikely to do much in my opinion. A much more sensible approach is a fiscal package that incentivizes a rapid response to the virus.

Bill Gates had a sensible response earlier this week.

"Government funding is needed because pandemic products are extraordinarily high-risk investments; public funding will minimize risk for pharmaceutical companies and get them to jump in with both feet. In addition, governments and other donors will need to fund — as a global public good — manufacturing facilities that can generate a vaccine supply in a matter of weeks. These facilities can make vaccines for routine immunization programs in normal times and be quickly refitted for production during a pandemic. Finally, governments will need to finance the procurement and distribution of vaccines to the populations that need them.

Billions of dollars for antipandemic efforts is a lot of money. But that’s the scale of investment required to solve the problem. And given the economic pain that an epidemic can impose — we’re already seeing how Covid-19 can disrupt supply chains and stock markets, not to mention people’s lives — it will be a bargain."


"Pragmatic Capitalism is the best website on the Internet. Just trust me. Please?" - Cullen Roche

Rate cut warranted - but unlikely to do much.  So - even if the rate cut won't do much - please explain what it WILL do.  Apart from cheap new federal debt - to help carry out the fiscal moves you've described, I don't understand what else the rate cut will really do to help at all.

So much for Gate's understanding of the vaccine process. It's not the development time, its the validation time that is the long pole in the tent.

How are low T-bond's going to attract buyers to fund the Covid spending?

During the pandemic,  it seems to me that the only useful thing businesses can do with borrowing is maintain payroll.  Logic says, what's really needed are outright grants to support payroll. Quarantined workers don't produce much to generate the revenue to repay loans.  Hopefully this will allow the economy to go into suspended animation to thaw when its safe again.