The year 2018 is still in its infancy, but some of the hot-button questions of late-2017 have been (or are currently being) answered: Will the Bitcoin bubble burst? Will political gridlock in Washington, D.C. lead to a federal government shutdown? Will anything slow down this raging bull market?
On December 14th, 2017 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in favor of overturning Obama-era net neutrality regulations by a vote of 3-2. While not necessarily underreported, the ruling was, in many ways, overshadowed in the financial media by two parallel events: tax reform and the Bitcoin bubble. Case in point, we have used these pages to share our view on both of these topics over the past several weeks, while completely ignoring the FCC’s landmark decision.
Up, Up and Away? It’s been two weeks since we wrote on the Bitcoin bubble and whether investors should consider jumping on the train to never-never land. Our case against such action was that Bitcoin is volatile, doesn’t behave like a currency, isn’t backed, is extremely expensive, and could become banned.
I asked myself that very question as the price of Bitcoin doubled from $200 USD to $400 USD over the first two weeks of November 2013. My conclusion was to stick to the investing principle I had been taught by my father at a very young age: never buy into something that is hype-driven.
Ben Bernanke popularized the term “global saving glut” in March 2005 when speaking to the Virginia Association of Economists in Richmond, Va. In his statement, he argued that several forces had created a high volume of global savings and that this “saving glut” helped explain the many years of historically low yields. And that was long before the Fed and its fellow central banks, through their coordinated actions, engineered the virtual extinction of interest rates!