In an effort to curb rising inflation, The Federal Reserve just announced an interest rate hike of 25 basis points (one-quarter of one percent). It’s the first time the Fed has raised such rates since 2018. So, what exactly does this mean and how could it affect YOU? Carol Roth, financial expert and author of ‘The War On Small Business,’ joins Glenn to break it all down…
You can read more of Carol's take on this issue here: https://www.theblaze.com/op-ed/roth-what-the-feder...
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Hello, America.
Yesterday, the fed raised the -- the interest rates.
And they said, they're going to do it, I think six or seven times more this year. This could get dicey in many ways, for everyone.
And I want you to understand, what happened yesterday. And not in terms of, well, you know, us traders believe. I don't care. I don't watch CNBC. Because I only understand about half of it.
I want to know what this means to the average person. Carol Roth joins us. The author of the war on small business. She gets it. And can explain what it all means. In 60 seconds.
Carol, welcome to the -- welcome to the Glenn Beck Program.
CAROL: Hey, Glenn. Lots of things to talk about.
GLENN: Yeah. Boy, I have a long list for you too. So let's start with what happened yesterday, and why people should care.
CAROL: So I want to take a step back, and talk about, you know, why the fed did what it did. In terms of raising interest rates. What we call 25 basis points, or a quarter of a percent.
100 basis points is 1 percent.
CAROL: And basically, they were undoing the -- at least attempting to start to undo the effects of what they in part cost.
Their monetary policy, zero interest rate policy, printing trillions of dollars, the government spending trillions of dollars, in terms of fiscal stimulus. Turning parts of the economy off, and wrecking these labor markets supply chain.
All of those things are the reasons we have inflation today, exacerbated by decisions that the Biden administration made around oil and gas, dependents and what not.
So basically, we had inflation.
CAROL: Which we've all been talking about. As we go to the grocery store, and certainly the fuel pumps and whatnot.
And so finally, they said, we have to do something. Now, I'm going to tell you, this is a little bit of window dressing. Because they were doing accommodation. They were in the market, purchasing securities, last week.
So last week, they were being accommodative.
But this week, we have to maintain our credibility, and we need to do something. So they decided to raise what is called the fed funds rate. It's a rate, where banks lend to each other overnight. In terms of their reserves.
And that reverberates through the market. So they brought that down to a target, of zero to a quarter of a percent. And they had held it there for the last couple of years. And they said, okay. Well, you know, inflation is getting away, we better raise some interest rates. One of our tools in order to do that. And they took the huge step of a whole quarter of a point increase, to do it.
CAROL: Yeah. They're very -- because they need to be credible.
GLENN: Right. So the last time we had a problem of this size, it took an interest rate of about 19 to 20 percent, if I'm not mistaken.
Raising it a quarter is really -- is a joke.
Where do you think, these interest rates should be?
Not -- not considering killing the economy.
Just where it should be. Should it -- if we were in a healthy country, still, would it be 20 percent, or more?
CAROL: So there's a couple of things to unpack there.
First of all, this is an unprecedented situation. We don't have a benchmark, because we have never had central banks, not just in the U.S. but around the world, printing trillions upon trillions of dollars. This has just never happened before. We've never had governments turn off the economy.
You never have a situation, where there's 1.7 jobs available, for every job seeker, because of what the government did.
So we're flying a little bit blind. I've always been a fan of normalized interest rates. I think it's a horrible idea, to have the fed meddling, and trying to direct things.
I want the market to set it. And so before all of this nonsense started, before the financial crisis, the great recession, financial crisis in '07 and '08, which was really the first time we went totally off the rails, with the zero interest rate policy and the purchase of securities, the interest rates were around 5-plus percent. And that seems to be, you know, a healthy place, where things should be.
We should not be in a place, where we're saying, you know, when you take risks, you shouldn't be getting rewarded for it. You know, 0 percent interest.
It makes no sense. So in reality, you're still at very historically low interest rates. And in a healthy economy, to have three, four, 5 percent, would be completely acceptable. We just have been so addicted to this easy money and this free money for so long, I'm not sure how we get out of this.
GLENN: Okay. So there's a couple of problems with 5 percent interest rates, right now. One would be that people would not be able to afford a new house, et cetera, et cetera. Because of inflation, and everything else.
But the other, that nobody ever talks about, is that we now have a national debt over $30 trillion. And that is just like buying a house. You have an interest rate, on that.
If we have an interest rate of 5 percent, how much more money do we have to pay?
CAROL: Bingo, this is the dilemma that the fed has gotten themselves into, by keeping down interest rates. They've basically given the government a free pass to just spend and spend. And to rack up more and more debt.
And we're at a point, to where the debt is completely out of control.
And, you know, has competed our level of GDP.
So if you think about 30 trillion of debt. And obviously, the fed fund rates. And the interest rate on the debt is not a 1:1 correlation. But we know that as one moves up, the other moves up. So in terms of the interest on our national debt, I want everyone to pay very close attention because this is staggering. For every 1 percent increase, that is another $300 billion, that we have to pay in interest, on the national debt.
That is our tax dollars, that are going to pay more, for things, that we have already purchased.
It is not new purchases. It's literally, a finance charge.
Almost like a credit card interest rate, on stuff we have already bought.
And this is the dilemma, the fed has. Because they know, as they raise interest rates, this is going to get out of control. The CDO. Had made a projection, than saying, this is going to get out of control. But in their projection, they said, well, we think the yield on the ten-year treasury note, gets to about 2.1 percent in 2025.
So, you know, we're going to have to really be concerned, maybe in 2029, the yield on the ten-year Treasury note is at that 2.1 percent today. So multiple years ahead of time.
GLENN: Please talk down to me like I'm in kindergarten.
I don't understand the yield thing with the Treasury. How that works. How that's affected. So can you explain that?
VIVEK: Yeah. It's basically how much the government has to pay on debt.
So what the market demands
And obviously, if there's a lot of demand, for Treasury securities. The price of that goes up.
Then the yield, or the interest that you demand is lower.
Because there's a lot of demand. You have to pay a lot for your debts.
GLENN: But we had been at very, very, very low --
CAROL: Very low.
GLENN: Because the fed was buying up. There was no demand for our treasuries, which is our loan.
CAROL: So let me put it in context, what we're paying currently on our national debt, in terms of a combined interest rate, is somewhere in the neighborhood of projections of 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent. So they've been able to finance that at a very low rate. But that number is starting to creep up. And with the fed increasing interest rates, it will further creep up. And every 1 percent is $300 billion.
GLENN: So if we have an interest rate of five or -- five or six percent, we're talking like between two and three trillion dollars more, the entire budget.
CAROL: Yeah. Exactly.
It's just completely untenable, at that point in time.
So I would -- I would imagine other things happened, in the interim. But this is why, when we talk about things like MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, or what I call Magic Money Tree.
That says, well, you can just print into infinity, because we can just print more. Well, we're now living through that realtime experiment. As you said, no, you can't. It causes inflation.
It has real costs for the average American, and it decreases the value of every dollar that you hold.
GLENN: All right. So the best thing you can do is get out of credit cards. You should cut those up if you can.
GLENN: And pay them off if you can. Get a refi right now. Because you're probably paying about 16 percent for your credit cards, correct?
CAROL: Yeah. And it could be going up.
And anything that has that adjustable interest rate associated with, some people may have something called an arm and an adjustable rate mortgage. Where it adjusts over time. Maybe it's fixed for a certain number of years. Anything that is adjustable rate debt, is going to increase in price. And if you need financing -- let's say you have a business, and you haven't taken advantage of low rates yet. You're going to want to lock that in on a fixed basis now, because it's not going to get cheaper any time soon.
GLENN: Now, the other problem is, with raising interest rates. Let's say you have a business. And you need a loan.
If the interest rates starts to go up, that kills that business. They can't afford that loan. Just like we can't afford our national debt. Or you want to buy a house. Yesterday, mortgages. New mortgages fell immediately, just on the -- on the whisper, that it was coming.
We are seeing a slowdown in mortgages. Which means people will buy fewer houses. The scary thing about this, is you don't know where that switch is. You're just going to have to kind of guess. And it might shut everything down.
CAROL: That's the needle that the fed is trying to thread, in addition to dealing with the consequences of the national debt. What happens, is as they raise interest rates. You know, their intention is to slow down the economy. I mean, that's basically what it is. They want to slow down consumer demand.
CAROL: But the question is: How do you do that, without creating a recession, or without creating reverberations for the economics of the average American?
GLENN: So can I be really, really cynical? I mean -- in fact, let me go beyond cynical. Let me go into, I'm a thriller writer. Okay? And I'm writing a thriller. And for some reason, this country needs to slow down the economy. But they can't slow down the economy, because then businesses will fail. But they don't really care about the average person. You know what I mean?
That's going to fail. We'll print more money. Put them on welfare. Tell they believe to stay home. Or whatever.
Wouldn't one way to slow the economy, for the consumer, but not slow the economy, for the big corporations, would a war do that?
CAROL: I think that would completely change the tenor of the economy. But I think that raising the interest rates does that, because kind of like we saw over the last couple of years, if you are a big corporation. You take advantage of that debt. You have that war chest. We've had that strong balance sheet. So in terms of the transfer of wealth, that is one way to do that. But the war, that would completely change the tenor of, you know, who benefits. And certainly, it would be the bigger guys versus the smaller guys. But it would be more defense, rather than the financial services industry, for example.
GLENN: Yeah. Okay. Carol, hang on. I have some more questions. And I would like you to explain a couple of other things, coming up in just a second. Give me 60 seconds. We're back with Carol Roth. The name of her book, is The War on Small Business. A must-read.
GLENN: All right. So I want to talk to you about the dollar being the world's reserve currency.
Because I'm watching these sanctions, that are being put on.
And I'm seeing things happen, to where, if I'm another country, especially Russia. I'm going to China, immediately, saying, I want to partner with you. Because they just made my money worthless. I can't get my money out of the central bank. The Federal Reserve. That's my money.
And they won't let me get to my money. If that starts to happen. And then Saudi Arabia starts to sell oil, off of the petrodollar, that's really bad news. And let's say, the West holds together. But half the world is off the petrodollar.
What does that mean for us, Carol?
CAROL: It potentially means the end of the U.S. dollar, as a reserve currency.
GLENN: Explain what that means. Because -- I mean, to the average person. Forget about, you know, the central banks and everything else. What does it mean to the average person? To have half the world get off our dollar?
CAROL: Yes. So this is why I love you, Glenn. Because we take the most complicated concepts in the world.
GLENN: I know.
CAROL: And trying to explain them, as if, you know, it's Elmo and Big Bird here --
CAROL: The idea of being the reserve currency. Is something that's -- you know, has sort of a long history. And it means, particularly in the case of goods and services. But also in the case of oil, that everyone in the world, pretty much agreed to use dollars, for a settlement. And that puts some responsibility on the United States. There's something that is called the Triffin dilemma. And there was an economist back in the 1960s, who basically said, there's a conflict. If you are going to be the world reserve currency, you're going to have to make tough choices. And you're not always going to be able to do what's right, at home, in order to make sure you're doing what's right, in the national sphere.
GLENN: Everywhere. Yeah.
CAROL: And unfortunately, you know, this has been an issue, that's been going on for a long time.
But in recent times. As we've been talking about with the fed and the decisions they've made. They actually haven't done right by either party.
They've been screwing over the average American, with their policy. And transferring wealth. But they've been doing the same thing in the national sphere.
And, frankly, a lot of countries are getting sick of it.
And so there have been predictions for quite some time, that there was going to be an event -- an adviser actually to the OECD said that it's probably not an economic event. It's a geopolitical event, that's going to expose the system. You know, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. And so a lot of folks feel like the sanctions that were made against Russia, were potentially a cover story. That we know that we'll potentially lose this reserve currency status. So we're going to say, well, we did it, because we had to take a stand.
But the reality is, you know, as we've now shown the world, you can put your money, in our central bank. And you can buy Treasuries. And U.S. dollars.
But you might not be able to access them. Which is not a really good thing, if you're going to be the world's reserve currencies.
GLENN: Correct. Correct.
CAROL: So there's a couple of potential outcomes. And I know you've been talking about this, Glenn. But, you know, one thing that folks have been talking about.
Is does China potentially step into the reserve currency position?
There is an issue around them. Because usually, if you have the reserve currency, you run a trade deficit. And we know that China is a nation of exporters. Are they really going to step into that? I'm not sure.
The other thought is, listen, we've seen so many banks. Central banks around the world. Print so much money. There's all this debt. You can't really just say, we're going to cancel it all. Because there's counterparties. There are people on the other side of the debt. So what could you do to offset that?
GLENN: Hold on. Hold on. Elmo and Big Bird has to stop. Because Elmo says, there's only 20 more seconds left.
GLENN: So we will come back. Because I really want to hear this -- this other new plan, and canceling debt just opens up Pandora's box, at least in my head. We'll talk about that, coming up more. Carol Roth, coming up in in just a second. Stand by. That's right. Did you get the vaccines yet?
GLENN: We're with Carol Roth. She's the author of the -- of the book, The War on Small Business.
She's a former investment banker. Don't hold that against her. She calls herself a recovering investment banker. She worked on Wall Street for years and years. Then kind of went, oh, I might be on the wrong side here.
And is trying to do everything she can, to strengthen individual businesses. Small businesses all across the country. And I love her for it.
Carol, you were just saying, that one of the options, in this nightmare scenario, which I think is unfolding in front of us. Where the world reserve currency, is not going to be the dollar.
I don't know what it is. But they're going to change the dollar, from what it is. To a digital dollar.
And I don't know how it all shakes out. But probably not very well.
But you brought up, there is all this debt within that we just can't cancel, because there's other people on the other side of that debt. So explain what you think.
That can't happen, you say.
CAROL: Well, I mean, nothing is a never scenario. Right?
GLENN: Not anymore.
CAROL: In an unprecedented situation. And, you know, for people who are students of history, despite all of the wreckage that could come from this, it's a very interest pointing in time. Especially, financially, you had the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. You had then us going off the gold standard. Then you had us, you know -- with the petrodollar, basically saying, we will manage the dollar as good as gold for oil.
And then you had the fed, basically go completely rogue. And not do that.
And anybody who is holding reserves, that they're supposed to say, well, the U.S. dollar is safe. And it's a good store of value. We'll keep devaluing it. That's not a thing.
And so -- and, by the way, these are not my theories. I'm just communicating what is out there, from people who are far smarter than I -- everybody by writing up another asset. So is there a neutral asset, that central banks have access to, that's on their balance sheet, that maybe they have been buying, at really good prices, that all of a sudden everybody comes together, and says, well, we'll just write up the value of that?
It's like writing down the -- gold.
CAROL: So central banks have been buying tons of physical gold. By the way, billionaires have been buying a lot of physical gold as well. And I'm using the term physical, because it's different than the market that is traded.
GLENN: ETFs. Those are ridiculous.
CAROL: ETFs. That's done in dollars. So who is backing that?
But physical gold. So there is a theory going around, that potentially that standalone basis or a basket of neutral metals. Which was thrown out as an idea, early on. When it was pushed aside for the U.S. dollar. That maybe there is this -- meeting of the minds.
And, you know, this is the way that you make all of these other central banks. And countries full. Is you just write up the value of that gold.
So if you think that that's going to happen. And you think that the financial system is going to collapse, you know, then you want to be owning physical metals. And have a store of that.
GLENN: Because when you say, they're going to write off debt, you don't mean people's houses. You mean --
CAROL: No. This is government debt. They cannot write up government debt. Because when you take -- that's a loan, right? You owe the money back to somebody. So the other side of potentially doing some sort of. We'll have mass forgiveness.
Is that when you take something else that everybody else has. And you say, it's more valuable. Overnight. It's magic.
GLENN: That doesn't sound like --
STU: Bad magic trick.
GLENN: Yeah. It sounds like -- we're dealing with a lot of black magic.
Stu and I were talking about this story that came out of Britain. We hadn't heard anyone talk about this. Explain what happened.
STU: Yeah. Just a little background. It's in the London metal exchange.
And it's the price of nickel. Now, I know no one cares about the price of nickel. Just to give you the basis here.
GLENN: Tesla does.
STU: Yeah. That's true. If you're buying an electrical car, it's true. Basically, the last five years has bounced back and forth between 10,000 and 20,000 per metric ton. Okay?
It got up to a little bit above 20,000, in the last few weeks. Obviously, all this time going on with Russia. Russia, Ukraine. Big sources where it comes from, for all these electric batteries. It goes basically from 20,000 to 80,000, in basically a day.
Okay? So four times, in one day. So let me read this: This is from the Wall Street Journal.
GLENN: Listen to this. Have you read this, Carol?
CAROL: Oh, I know this story. I do know this story. So we can talk about this.
GLENN: Yeah, this is crazy. Listen to this, America. This is craziness.
So traders on the London Metal Exchange smelled blood, and nickel prices almost doubled in a short period of time. A Chinese company faced a 1 billion-dollar margin call. That exchange officials felt they couldn't meet. Rather than let it fail, which would have probably taken down several of the smaller brokers that serviced them. The London metals exchange decided to cancel all of the day's trading. More than 9,000 trades, worth about $4 billion.
It canceled the trades. Not because of a fat finger error. Which exchanges often cancel. Not because of a rogue algorithm, as regulators claimed in the 2010 flash crash in U.S. stocks, but because someone with too much leverage was going to blow up, with effects on some members of the exchange.
This moral hazard is taken to an extreme. It's always been true, that if you face a 100-dollar margin call, it's your problem. While if you have a one billion dollar margin call, it's the broker's problem. And the authorities might save them. What is almost unprecedented here. Is the exchange authorities decided to save them, with money taken from other traders, who otherwise would be sitting on fat profits.
I mean, you won. You picked the right direction. You've got these huge profits. And they cancel your trade, to save someone else.
GLENN: And it's China.
STU: And it's China.
GLENN: I mean, there is no such thing as a free market with this.
CAROL: No. This is another too big to fail scenario. It happened to be -- I believe it was an individual billionaire, who had made a short set against nickel. So he went in the other direction.
GLENN: Wow. I mean, then you don't -- you don't put the money down on the table. If you don't know what the odds are, and you're not willing to lose your money.
That's like going to Vegas, and -- and placing a huge bet, and when you lose it, you're like, hey.
You know, Caesars. I mean, this is crazy. And Caesars says, oh, we're not going to count that bet.
That doesn't happen!
CAROL: It's horrendous. And it goes back to the integrity of the market. And so many that the retail investors have been rallying against. And it's just another example. And there are big name banks involved. The exchange was actually shut down for multiple days, I believe. Before it started trading again.
And the people who made a bet, and decided to participate in the market, ended up getting screwed out of their profits. But they're never going to get the leniency, if it happens to them on the other side.
CAROL: And just the overall integrity, like you said. This is not a free market. It's not a fair market.
And we have too many of these big guys, who are being saved, at the expense, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, of the small guys, over and over and over again.
GLENN: And that's what I think people are so sick of.
And when they see this next crash. Especially with Janet Yellen saying, it will be equitable. When we reassemble, it will be equitable. What the hell does that mean? Probably stuff like this. And when they see the rich getting richer. And I don't mean a person who runs a business and may have a million dollars.
I mean the rich.
The elite of the elite. The BlackRocks of the world.
The banks of the world.
I just -- when their debt is being bailed out and real Americans are paying huge money for their food and their gas. And then their home is taken, there's trouble. That's real trouble.
CAROL: Yeah. And unfortunately, that is the scenario. There's one thing to become wealthy, because you earned it in a fair playing field. That's something that we want to celebrate. But we do not want to celebrate, when the playing field is tilted. When somebody has their thumb on the scale. When we have this transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street. Which has been going on for, you know -- in a very large part, for a decade and a half. But it has accelerated over the last year and a half. And, you know, we talk about all of this coming to fruition. And us losing reserve currency status. It's going to mean a slower economy for us. Because we are not in a position. We don't have the strong manufacturing face. Or a competitive pricing. To be able to export. So all these people are like, oh, that's great. We'll reshore the job. They're not thinking in context of the existing economic structure. It will be unfortunately, very painful. But just to have a moment of hope here, Glenn. Because this is really doom and gloom. Is you have to remember, in any time of pain, there's always opportunities. So it is incumbent upon you, to find where those opportunities are. And what --
GLENN: So average person is saying, what is that opportunity?
CAROL: Yeah. It's finding the things that have inelastic demand. Meaning, people will pay prices even when they're continuing to increase and making investments and those kinds of things. Or retooling your business. To be servicing those markets. It's those kinds of shifts, where you have to look for those hidden opportunities.
In what could be a completely new economic scenario for us, going forward.
GLENN: I -- I think what you just said, translates to what I just told my kids.
You get into the job market. You have to be the most effective, efficient, and hard-working employee. Even if you're not at the top of the food chain, you have to be the one that the boss says, oh, we can't.
Because he'll do everything. I mean, he's a little bit. I mean, he works like crazy. You have to be that person. Right?
CAROL: Absolutely. Absolutely. Invest in yourself. And make yourself indispensable to a customer or to somebody that you're working for.
It's a huge competitive differentiation that will only get more important.
GLENN: I would love to have you on, maybe early next week. I just had one of my producers put some stats together on inflation.
And what that actually means to people. I mean, when Biden got in, a hamburger. An average hamburger was $4.40.
Today, that average burger is 601. And if we look at what they say, things are going to be, you know, with -- with the -- what are they saying? 7.9 percent inflation.
That number is going to be $7 force a burger by the time of the next election. I don't think that stat is right. You want to compare apples to apples. Look at how they measured it back in the 1970s and '80s, when we hit it before. That would mean that that hamburger would go from $4.40, to almost $8 by the time we hit a presidential election.
I just want to talk to you about inflation. And how to beat that.
CAROL: Plenty to talk about, would love to.
GLENN: Thank you very much, girl. Appreciate it. Carol Roth. The name of the book is War on Small Business. Make sure you pick it up.