The last hurrah of central banks is the negative interest rate policy–NIRP. The basic idea of NIRP is to punish savers so severely that households and businesses will be compelled to go blow whatever money they have on something–what the money is squandered on is of no importance to central banks.

All that matters is that people and enterprises are forced to spend whatever cash they have rather than “hoard” it, i.e. preserve and conserve their capital.

That this is certifiably insane is self-evident. If an economy depends on bringing future spending into the present by destroying savings, that economy is doomed regardless of NIRP, for eventually the cash runs out and spending declines anyway.

But NIRP will fail completely and totally due to another dynamic— one I addressed last month in Another Reason Why the Middle Class and the Velocity of Money Are in Terminal Decline. As correspondent Mike Fasano noted, negative interest rates force us to save even more, not less:

“People like me who have saved all their lives realize that they their savings (no matter how much) will never throw off enough money to allow retirement, unless I live off principal. This is especially so since one can reasonably expect social security to phased out, indexed out or dropped altogether. Accordingly, I realize that when I get to the point when I can no longer work, I’ll be living off capital and not interest. This is an incentive to keep working and not to spend.”

If banks start charging savers interest on their cash, savers will have to save even more income to offset the additional costs imposed by central banks on their savings.

A third dynamic dooms the insane negative interest rate policy: what does it say about the stability and health of the status quo if central banks are saying the only way to save the status quo is to force everyone to empty their piggy banks and spend every last dime of cash?

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