This weekend’s shocking admittal that the Fed is hoping QE will keep asset prices “higher than they otherwise would be” did not surprise David Rosenberg one bit. In this morning’s note he said:
Brian Sack, a senior official at the New York Fed, had this to say about the powers of quantitative easing in a speech he just delivered:
“Some observers have argued that balance sheet changes, even if they influence longer-term interest rates, will not affect the economy because the transmission mechanism is broken. This point is overstated in my view. It is true that certain aspects of the transmission mechanism are clogged because of the credit constraints facing some households and businesses, and it is true that monetary policy cannot directly target those parties that are the most constrained. Nevertheless, balance sheet policy can still lower longer-term borrowing costs for many households and businesses, and it adds to household wealth by keeping asset prices higher than they otherwise would be. It seems highly unlikely that the economy is completely insensitive to borrowing costs and wealth, or to other changes in broad financial conditions. ”
I just love that one comment to the effect that QE “adds to household wealth by keeping asset prices higher than they otherwise would be.” When will these guys ever learn that maybe, just maybe, these Fed policies aimed at targeting asset prices at levels above their intrinsic values is probably not in the best interests of the nation? As our friend Marc Faber likes to say, the “Bernanke put” is cut from the same cloth as the fabled “Greenspan put” — only the strike price is different.
Imagine running a policy aimed at getting people to spend money based on an artificial level of asset values — what an admission. Then again, this is what the Fed has been all about since the LTCM bailout of 1998. We’re still not convinced after reading this sermon that this next “pull-another-rabbit-out-of-the-hat” experiment is going to end with very much success. There is something to be said about paying for our mistakes and to have the Fed try to rekindle an asset-based economy that has only ended up in generating a series of burst bubbles over the last 12 years, not to mention encourage a lifestyle of living beyond our means, is irresponsible at best, dangerous at worst.
I am honestly still trying to grasp the fact that the Fed has admitted to trying to run what is really nothing more than a ponzi scheme….That is our great American growth strategy. Unbelievable.