Keeping interest rates low through ‘Quack Economics’ has forced investors out of savings accounts

Dear John: The idea that quantitative easing (QE), along with the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest-rate policy, hasn’t created inflation is false. 

While the prices of things like TVs and clothing has remained muted, things like housing, health care and education have continued to skyrocket. 

So inflation, according to the government, is low, unless it’s in things you actually need to survive. 

Now about QE. 

The fact that banks won’t lend just overnight tells you something stinks. The banks smell a rat, because the collateral they are receiving in return for loans isn’t sufficient. 

This is a game of musical chairs and it all started with the elimination of the system of valuing assets — no bank wants to be left without a seat when the music stops, it’s just that simple. 

So the Fed restarted QE to keep the music playing. Little attention is being paid to this overnight repurchase action, but it’s a $3 trillion market. The Fed can never raise rates or step away from the QE printing press because the market would collapse. That’s what happened last December when just the suggestion from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that rates were going up caused a 20 percent decline in the stock market. 

The bottom line is the plumbing is backing up. How long before the music stops is the question. C.V. 

Dear C.V.: To let other readers know, you are responding to something I wrote in one of my weekly columns that asked why the Fed is restarting QE — which I called “quack economics.”

You make a lot of good points.

Obviously, the Fed and the European Central Bank and others are responsible for the remarkable success of the stock market over the past 10 years. By keeping interest rates extraordinarily low through the trickery of QE, the Fed has forced investors out of savings accounts and into the much riskier stock market.

And because of this, it will be a disaster when the stock market declines. When will that be? Nobody knows when — as you put it — the music will stop.

But the Fed’s easy-money policy is likely to come to an end when inflation obviously picks up.

And, you are right, inflation is a lot worse than the Federal Reserve is letting on. Eggs might be cheap, but sending your kid to college or getting him a car or paying for her medical insurance has been going up like gangbusters.

And what eats more of the family budget — eggs or college tuition?

Even the cost of things like TVs and clothing are made to look lower than they actually are through creative accounting by government agencies — something I’ve written about extensively.

Thanks for writing.

Source: Read Full Article