Morris and Estelle loved visiting the state fair every year. Each time, Morris would gaze at the helicopter rides and say, “Estelle, I’d love to take a ride in that helicopter!” But Estelle, always mindful of their expenses, would respond, “Morris, you know that helicopter ride costs $50, and 50 bucks is 50 bucks.” One year, as Morris turned 85, he became nostalgic. “Estelle,” he said, “I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get to experience that helicopter ride. I want to enjoy life while I still can.” Estelle hesitated, knowing the cost, but Morris’s desire touched her heart. “Alright,” she agreed, “let’s go for it.”
They approached the helicopter pilot to buy their ticket. Having overheard their conversation, he proposed a deal: “If you both can stay quiet during the entire ride and not say a word, I’ll take you both for free. But if you utter even a single word, it’ll cost you 50 dollars.” Morris and Estelle nodded eagerly, excited about their adventure. Up they went, soaring in the helicopter. The pilot performed daring maneuvers, but not a single word escaped Morris or Estelle’s lips. They remained silent, even as the helicopter spun and twirled through the sky.
When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris, impressed by their restraint. “You both did an amazing job,” the pilot said, smiling. “To be honest, I did everything I possibly could to make you scream, but surprisingly you stayed quiet the entire time! You sure earned that 50 dollars!” Morris responded, “Well, to be honest, I almost said something when Estelle fell out, but you know what they say – 50 bucks is 50 bucks!”
We often encounter situations where we prioritize short-term ‘gains’ or savings over long-term benefits. This common tendency, often called penny-wise and pound-foolish, can be observed in various aspects of our daily decision-making processes. Surprisingly, this approach can also be found on a larger scale within economic policies. One such example is the current approach of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, which aims to combat inflation by hiking interest rates. While this strategy was deemed appropriate and necessary initially, it can ultimately lead to a deeper recession and have far-reaching consequences on the overall economy.
On Wednesday, The FOMC released its “minutes” from their June 14th meeting. It showed that almost all Fed officials believe further policy tightening is likely. Fed members decided against a rate hike in their June meeting, citing concerns over economic growth. Leaving the rate unchanged would allow more time to assess progress toward the committee’s goal of maximum employment and price stability, according to their minutes.
While controlling inflation is crucial for economic stability, it’s important to consider alternative approaches that strike a balance between short-term fixes and long-term growth. Although I successfully predicted that the Fed would “punt” at its June meeting, I would be surprised and disappointed if they did, in fact, hike rates at the next FOMC meeting on July 26th. In my opinion, the ten hikes done through May 2023 should be enough to curb inflation, and further increases will be beyond penny-wise and pound-foolish. It will cause the upcoming recession to be deeper than necessary. I believe in playing “the long game” – better to lose the battle and win the war!
Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at Shmuel@approvedfunding.com.
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