October 23rd, 2010

Terence R. Wilken warns of QE and forwards the following essay which is reposted from McHugh’s Weekend Market Newsletter.


Terrible Policy

Robert McHugh

Quantitative Easing will some day be looked back upon as we now look at healing the sick through bleeding back in the 1700s. It is terrible economic policy, in fact should be considered criminal activity. Criminal for many reasons, such as debasing the value of the Dollar, but more importantly because it will be the final nail that destroys our economy. Wall Street is the key beneficiary. Households (consumers) which account for 70 percent of GDP, and small businesses, which account for 70 percent of employment, will not benefit from this fraudulent activity by the Federal Reserve. Where on earth is it right for someone to print trillions of Dollars out of thin air and then buy legitimate legally binding debt instruments in exchange for this printed paper? Anyone else doing this would be arrested and thrown in jail, with the key tossed into the deep blue sea…

…let’s explore why it is a fraud on pretty much everyone except the sellers of the fixed income securities the Fed will be buying, primarily mega Wall Street firms, surrogates for the president’s Working Group (the Plunge Protection Team).

Bernanke suggested in his speech in Boston Friday on the subject of QE2, that he is justified in doing this to raise the inflation rate, which he believes is too low, and to increase employment. His economics are dead wrong. He believes it is perfectly appropriate to print trillions of dollars of U.S. Federal Reserve notes (Dollars) out of thin air, and then send this money from the Fed’s print shop across the invisible wall that separates the real economy from the non-economy (the Fed) to the lucky recipients of this cash. Here is the problem: This transfer of printed cash for securities in the market are normally known as open market operations, and the point of this exercise is to lower interest rates in the market to spur lending and filter cash through Wall Street intermediaries to banks to borrowers which would stimulate the economy and multiply the money supply in the market. However, short-term interest rates are already zero, and long-term interest rates are at historic lows. So QE2 will not reduce interest rates. Therefore it will not increase borrowing. Therefore it will not multiply the money supply or spur spending, ergo it will not improve GDP, will not help households or small businesses. The cash will simply move from the Fed to Wall Street where the mega banks can then leverage their investing and trading activities which will improve their short-term profits. There will be no trickle down benefits to households or small businesses. Without benefits to households or small businesses, there will be no improvement in spending (GDP) or employment.

What will result from QE2 is the devaluation of the U.S. Dollar as there will be too many Dollars floating around, in relation to hard assets such as precious metals, and foreign currencies. This reduces the purchasing power of Dollars, and reduces the value of cash in bank accounts. In other words, the consumer gets hurt.

The only way QE2 makes any sense at all is if it is conducted in such a way that the cash being printed by the Fed finds its way directly into the hands of households and small businesses, instead of Wall Street. The only way for this to happen is if newly issued debt from the U.S. Treasury from the Fed are sent directly to U.S. Households in the form of massive income tax rebate, and tax cut…

If the intent of QE2 fails to include the household, it should not be allowed to happen. Congress must put a stop to QE2 immediately, and require a full explanation of the intended program before Bernanke destroys our economy. There should be an open debate in Congress on the merits of QE2, with testimony from all interested parties, in front of television cameras, for the American public to study before QE2 is effectuated. This is not something the Fed should conduct in secret. This is new turf, new territory for the Fed, and warrants careful scrutiny. The Justice Department needs to study if in fact the Fed is legally empowered to conduct QE2.