Carney has an important follow-up piece, since Altman is now out with an op-ed in the Financial Times. Carney explains why this op-ed is very important:
Roger Altman’s op-ed in the Financial Times argues that although our current financial slump may have a few more years to run, we’re likely headed for another boom.So what does Altman see in the future? Carney summarizes Altman's FT piece:
Altman’s piece deserves attention not just because he is on most shortlists of Treasury Secretary candidates in a second Obama administration, but because it was very likely written while Altman — currently chairman of Evercore Partners— was in the company of some of the most important economists and central bankers in the United States.
This past weekend, Altman was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the wedding of Alison Fisher, his goddaughter. Alison is the daughter of Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher.
But this was not the only event in Jackson Hole this weekend. The Kansas City Fed’s economic symposium, which has developed into one of the most important central banking conferences of the year, was also held in Jackson over the weekend.
To emphasize, Altman was most likely writing his op-ed after spending time in the company of some of the brightest and most influential economic minds of our time. His piece really should be read as the final contribution to the symposium.
Rising home prices. Home prices are rising in half of the major housing markets in the U.S.
Booming energy production. Gas and oil production in the U.S. has increased at “breathtaking” rates.
Financial sector health. The banking sector, nearly nationalized while on its deathbed just a few years ago, has recovered faster than anyone thought possible.
Competitiveness. A few years ago, we were becoming a post-industrial nation. Now we’re back in the game of making big, hard things.
Budget balancing. Here Altman gets a bit partisan, predicting that an Obama re-election could result in a budget deal that brings down our mounting debt levels.Most interesting is Altman's view on housing, as I have been pointing out in the EPJ Daily Alert, there appears to be the start of a rebound in the housing market---and this is before any significant Fed money printing. If the Fed starts to print aggressively again, the housing sector could really soar.
Overall, Altman at some point expects that, "it is possible that the US economy will surprise on the upside. A housing revival, the revolution occurring in energy, a rejuvenated banking system and a leaner industrial base could lead to US growth beyond the 2.5 per cent rate that is widely seen as its long-term potential. In other words, the famine could be followed by a feast."
He carefully gives himself time (five years) for this to occur, and he also is careful to not discuss what the Federal Reserve will be doing in this period. But it is hard to believe that while attending the Jackson Hole symposium where Bernanke spoke and hosting the wedding of the daughter of the Dallas Fed president that he didn't form some opinion as to what the Fed was planning. Indeed, it is hard to believe that he would be so bullish, if he thought the Fed would not be acting to prop up the system with another money blast.
Bottom line: What's really important about Altman's op-ed is not what he said, but his overall bullish tone, which would be unlikely if he did not expect more Fed money printing. The Fed printing is likely to occur sometime between the Fed Sept, 12-13 meeting and the end of the year. Given that prices are already climbing because of supply factors in the grain and oil sectors, Fed money printing could be the lit match that pushes price inflation much higher.