Here's the money quote:
I wrote here last month that the Fed did the right thing by cutting just a quarter of a percent a few weeks before the holidays. That would give them a chance to see how the consumer was really doing.
They got the answer pretty fast: The consumer is doing horribly. The value of their homes, especially in the most inflated parts of this country, has deflated. The availability of credit via their homes or other sources has deflated. The value of their 401ks and IRAs has deflated.
As a result, their confidence has been crushed, and it’s unclear how many rate cuts it will take to reverse the trend. The trouble, away from Wall Street, is really quite simple: America has been living out of its means, fueled by a Fed that made credit so cheap that it appeared, at one point, you were getting paid to take the cash. With today’s cut, the Fed Funds rate will fall to 3.50%; last time it was that low was August 9, 2005, when the market was lower than it is today. By contrast, it sank to 1% on June 25, 2003. Mortgage rates, meanwhile, for 30-year loans are averaging around 5.5%, still well above their boom levels; ditto for the prime rate.
I agree completely with his analysis.
Greenberg always has a very fresh perspective on what is going on in the economy -- you should read him whenever he posts something because you are sure to get an angle you hadn't considered.