The Federal Reserve responded to the economic havoc caused by government coronavirus shutdowns by launching QE infinity. It’s money printing to infinity and beyond. The mainstream almost universally believes that this is “necessary,” but we have argued that the “solution” is really the root of the problem.
Economist Bryce McBride provides a perfect analogy for what the Fed is doing and explained exactly why throwing printed money at the problem won’t make it go away.
Bailouts are the name of the game right now. It seems like everybody is in line for a bailout. Airlines. Movie theaters. Small businesses. Hospitals. Not to mention the fact that the Federal Reserve has resorted to directly buying corporate debt.
Conventional wisdom tells us this is necessary. After all, the government shutdown put tremendous stress on businesses. Doesn’t the government have a responsibility to help them out?
Last month we reported that the Chinese government has launched a pilot program for a digital version of the yuan. The virtual currency ups the ante in the war on cash and creates the potential for the government to track and even control consumer spending.
China isn’t alone in using COVID-19 as an excuse to push people away from physical cash. Other countries are pushing narratives to drive the movement toward a completely digital economy – one where governments can track and even control what we buy. The war on cash has been going on for years, but the pandemic has put efforts on hyperdrive.
Peter Schiff has called the Federal Reserve’s response to the economic meltdown “a monetary hail mary.” The central bank has printed trillions of dollars out of thin air through QE infinity, taking the Great Recession quantitative easing programs and putting them on steroids. And the Fed has gone beyond the “standard” extraordinary policy of the 2008 crisis, plunging its hands into the corporate bond market.
Peter has argued that none of this is actually helping the economy. In fact, it’s hurting, furthering distorting an already over-leveraged economy.
On June 9, the national debt surged above $26 trillion. Just over one month before that, the debt eclipsed $25 trillion. And 28 days before that, the national debt stood at a mere $24 million. May’s budget shortfall came in at a staggering $398.8 billion, pushing the fiscal 2020 deficit to $1.88 trillion
And there is no end to the borrowing and spending in sight.
Peter Schiff has called it a “monetary Hail Mary,” but virtually nobody in the mainstream questions the wisdom of the Federal Reserve unprecedented response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
And it truly is unprecedented. It’s not just zero percent interest rates and QE infinity. The Fed is buying everything but the kitchen sink. It’s now even become a player in the corporate bond market.
We have been making the case for weeks that we aren’t heading for a quick recovery. We’ve reported on the number of people of small business owners who don’t think they’ll survive, the increasing number of over-leveraged zombie companies, and the tsunami of defaults and bankruptcies on the horizon. Yes, we have seen some economic numbers that are better than expected, but it’s all a function of a Federal Reserve-induced sugar high. The ugly truth is that given the amount of stimulus that the Federal Reserve and the US government have pumped into the economy, unwinding it all will be mission impossible. All of this certainly raises serious questions about the possibility of a “v-shaped” recovery.
During a recent 60 Minutes interview, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said there is “no limit” to what the Fed can do. Indeed, the central bank has pulled out all the stops.
But while the actions of the central bank are extreme, we’ve seen them operate out of this playbook before, if not at this level.
The Federal Reserve and the US government are rerunning the exact same policies they turned to in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but on a much grander scale. We have bigger QE, more money printing, more government spending and bigger deficits. Case in point — the money supply grew at a record rate in April with no sign of slowing down.
In response to the coronavirus economic lockdown, the Fed pulled out all the stops, launching what amounts to QE infinity. And there is no end in sight. During a recent 60 Minutes interview, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said there is “no limit” to what the Fed can do.
This is the same “cure” the Fed gave us in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Most of the mainstream swears it worked. But did it really?
We have been arguing that it didn’t In fact, we believe the Fed’s solution is actually the root of the problem.
Are negative interest rates in our future?
Jerome Powell says absolutely not. But Jerome Powell also once said balance sheet reduction was on autopilot and that the Federal Reserve wasn’t going to cut interest rates. What the Fed chair says today doesn’t necessarily line up with what the Fed chair does tomorrow.
In fact, the markets are starting to bet on negative rates. They are, after all, the next logical step in the Fed’s trek down the path of extraordinary monetary policy.