Quantitative Easing

Question, or Statement Often Made by Democrats

  • “The stock market relies on confidence, and the stock market has done incredibly well since Obama took over. How do you explain that?”

Click to Enlarge

(This is with thanks to Gay Patriot and the graph from Zero Hedge) Here is GAY PATRIOT’S summary: Fed pumping gobs of money into Wall Street? Market drifts upward. Fed stops pumping? Market doesn’t. The so-called “confidence” is drug-induced.

Credit Writedowns touches on this a bit:

…As for Bill Gross, he also said that the Federal Reserve knows that its easy money policies have a negative impact: “There are ultimately and presently negatives to these policies. The chairman recognizes that.”

[….]

On how to get out of the quantitative easing scenario that we’ve been in for so long:

“That’s very difficult, not just for the Fed, but other for other central banks. at the moment, the bank of japan is about to enter the pool, so to speak, the deep end. The Bank of England as well, perhaps, with carney indicating as much. Is it easy to get out of the deep end once you get into it? It gets difficult, because the market begins expects a constant infusion of liquidity–$85 billion a month into the bond market, which extends out into high-yield and equity credit as we move forward. Once you cut off the check writing and the purse strings, it becomes a problematic question in terms of valuation and the ability of markets, stocks, and bonds to continue on.

On his tweet on 2/20 saying that bond vigilantes are no more and central bankers are the masters of the universe:

“They are trying to let us know that they are vigilant. We saw the minutes yesterday and they were extensive and they meet every other month or more frequently. Are they vigilant? They are in terms of their objectives. what the fed is trying to do is reflate the economy, that means not only produce 2 to 3 to 4% real growth, but a modicum of inflation in combination such so we have a nominal 5% of GDP environment. Are they vigilant in terms of moving towards that goal? Yes. Will they be vigilant in terms of having reached it then pulling back and not disrupting markets? Perhaps not. We’ll have to see going forward.”

Above video description:

When Ben Bernanke announced that the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee was going to continue its monetary expansion program it calls Quantitative Easing, almost everyone in the financial media was taken by complete surprise. According to the mainstream media, the non-taper “surprised almost everyone out there.” Well it did not surprise me, nor anyone who had been paying attention to what I had been saying. As I said repeatedly over the past several months, the Fed knows that the appearance of economic health would evaporate if its stimulus were withdrawn, or even diminished. The Fed understands, as the market seems not to, that the current “recovery” could not survive without the continuation of massive monetary stimulus. In fact, the Fed’s next big move will likely be to increase, rather than taper, its monthly QE dosage! One reporter on this video said that its time for the Fed to take the training wheels off the economy. As I have been saying for years, QE is not the training wheels, its the only wheels the economy has. Take it away and the economy stalls. However, as the economy is now headed toward a cliff, taking the wheels off is much better than leaving them on and going over that cliff.

For more on how I knew the Fed wouldn’t taper, here’s an op-ed I released after the decision was announced.

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HotAir:

  • ….Until recently, the US had a coalition of allies at the G-20 to stand firm against the manipulation of the yuan. However, much to Barack Obama’s shock, they’re not as interested in scolding China for manipulating its currency while the Obama administration has done the same with its second round of “quantitative easing”….

The Blaze:

Washington Times:

[….]

Many currency analysts agree with Mr. Obama that the U.S. dollar stands to gain in coming months against the euro and Japanese yen, in particular, if the Fed is successful and the U.S. recovery picks up speed.

Nick Bennenbroek, analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, said the dollar actually has strengthened since the Fed’s announcement last week because, in an “ironic twist,” the economy has been showing unexpected strength. A report on Friday showed the best private job growth since April.

“Moreover, with the initial Fed announcement now out of the way, markets have refocused their attention on the ongoing European debt-market difficulties and, in particular, concerns over the state of the Irish government’s finances,” Mr. Bennenbroek said. The result is the euro may be due for a decline against the dollar.

But the Fed’s move only seemed to provide an excuse to many nations to dig in and further resist Mr. Obama’s call to curb global trade imbalances, starting with the massive Chinese trade deficit with the United States.

A Commerce Department report on Wednesday showed that the U.S. deficit with China fell $2.2 billion to $27.8 billion in September but remained near record highs. The U.S. blames the deficit in part on China’s currency policy, which makes Chinese imports cheaper in the United States.

But Chinese President Hu Jintao, ahead of a scheduled meeting with Mr. Obama on Thursday, called on other countries to “face their own problems” rather than cast blame for their giant trade imbalances on China. Mr. Hu also defended China’s currency controls as a boon to the world economy.

…(read more)…

How Quantitative Easing Hurts the Middle-Class

Breitbart has a bang-up article talking about quantitative easing and the affect of government “spreadsheet ‘fixing'” on the middle-class:

…Even left-wingers agree, uncomfortably, that “income inequality” got much worse under Obama, as the rich got richer, while the poor… didn’t. Left-wing analysts will tie themselves in knots trying to shift blame away from Obama and his policies for this state of affairs, with arguments that boil down to “this proves we need even more central planning and socialism to make everybody equal!”

Much of the debate over the maybe-recovery concerns the manipulation of government reports: the sense our vast bureaucracy is cooking the books to make the economy look more robust than it really is. A persistent complaint concerns the way inflation has been hidden, or almost redefined out of existence. (Ed Butowsky discussed this bureaucratic sleight-of-hand on Breitbart News Radio in November, noting that the government began concealing consumer inflation decades ago with some eye-popping formula changes.)

Now comes a fascinating article from Wolf Richter at Business Insiderwhich brings inflation games, currency manipulation, and near-zero interest rates together, into a unified field theory of how very low nominal consumer inflation has concealed skyrocketing asset inflation… leaving middle-class and low-income workers stuck with flat wages and debt slavery.

Governments across the industrialized world made themselves look better by tinkering with the money supply, lowering the bar for macro-economic success… and sold the Little Guy shackles of debt, at discount prices.

Richter’s key insight is that quantitative easing (QE, or “central banks printing lots of money” in layman’s terms) and near-zero interest rates for loans caused very little consumer inflation, with a few notable examples, so we’ve been treated to plenty of headlines about how inflation is totally under control… but QE caused “rampant asset price inflation, with stocks, bonds, real estate, classic cars, art … all skyrocketing over the years.”

In other words, the things rich people buy and trade have inflated, but most of life’s necessities and modest luxuries have not. That’s because, as Richter puts it: “The money never went to consumers in the form of wages. They would have spent most of it, thus driving up demand that could have created some inflationary pressures in consumer prices. But they never got this money.”

Unfortunately, because QE funneled money into big corporate and investor interests, wages flattened or declined, while household spending power for the poor and middle class declined. Low interest rates made it easy for them to borrow money to make up for lost purchasing power, especially for a few big-ticket purchases that have inflated enormously over the years – particularly health care and higher education. President Obama’s mind-boggling expenditures on both of those goods have done absolutely nothing to slow their inflation – on the contrary, ObamaCare’s meddling with student loans caused that debt bubble to explode.

Richter’s sobering diagnosis of what the Federal Reserve has done to workers:

The Fed keeps a hawk’s eye on wages, especially in the lower 80% of the workers. Its goal is to provide cheap labor to corporate America. And when wage inflation ticks up, the Fed can get quite radical about rate increases.

But because cheap labor makes for bad consumers, the Fed is trying to make cheap debt available to them, turning them into debt slaves, problem solved, for the moment.

So this is one lesson we learned: QE channeled to financial and corporate entities causes asset price inflation, not consumer price inflation. And it tends to exacerbate wage deflation at the lower 80% of households.

One of the exceptions is rent. When residential property prices soar, rents tend to follow. And rents have increased sharply in many cities. But unlike stocks, people have to live in these units, and when rents move beyond their reach, all kinds of things happen, including property price crashes.

That sounds like a far more clear and terrible example of “trickle-down economics” than anything liberals have attempted to slander with the term. Obama built on years of monetary manipulation to create an economy where the government is printing dollars and stuffing them in the pockets of big corporations and wealthy investors, vainly hoping they would invest the money in a way that created jobs, while the media cheerfully pumped out politically-useful stories about a roaring stock market….

(Read It All, A Good Article)