How much is several? What is a few? If you were to put a numerical value on “probably” would it be more, or less, than “likely”? To your podcaster’s great consternation the linguistic gatekeepers of Middle English were rather disinterested. As a result we’re constantly late or early. ‘I thought we were to meet in a few hours, no?’ ‘No! It was several.’ ‘Oh, right.’ Women seem to revel in these nuances, arriving for a date with this podcaster when it pleases them and then claiming etymological immunity.
Which brings us to the word transitory. Admittedly there is SOME lexicographic nuance: momentary, transient, impermanent, temporal. However, the Federal Reserve – like the proverbial camel – stuck its thesaurus-nose into that nuance and CHARGED into the economic-tent of the past decade. Why did the 2009-10 Green Shoots recovery fail? Transitory European Sovereign Debt Crisis, gummed Bernanke. Why did the economy swoon in the first quarter of 2014? Transitory Polar Vortex, chomped Yellen. Why did inflation not accelerate despite ‘full-employment’? Transitory cellular data-plan price war, gnawed the FOMC. Why was Globally Synchronized Growth tripped up? Transitory political trade wars, chawed Powell.
So here we are, 10 transitory-filled years later. Now, unless there are glaciers listening to this podcast – and it needs all the ratings assistance it can get – it’s likely the audience is in unanimous agreement that the definition of “transitory” has been tortured to death. Indeed, the Federal Reserve agrees! And Transitory has been retired. Or cremated. Still, instinct informs your podcaster that much like our zombie economy, the transitory excuse is undead and will walk again!
00:05 Why does the Federal Reserve bring up the idea of “transitory” so often?
01:48 The Fed pursues inflation because it is supposed to be a consequence of a booming economy
03:24 How can it be said that inflation is not taking place when food prices are rising?
06:19 A review of the transitory issues that seem to come up every year since 2012
07:39 UK Prime Minister Harold McMillan was prepared for “events”. The Fed? Deus forbid them!
11:38 There is a rigid mindset in place – not the deflationary one of the people – but the stubborn donkeyness of monetary policy