Monday, October 25, 2010

Fed Continuing Down Dangerous Path

John Hussman,

"The Recklessness of Quantitative Easing"


"Businesses and consumers now see their debt burdens as too high in relation to their prospective income. The result is a continuing effort to deleverage, in order to improve their long-term financial stability. This is rational behavior. Does the Fed actually believe that the act of reducing interest rates from already low levels, or driving real interest rates to negative levels, will provoke consumers and businesses from acting in their best interests to improve their balance sheets?...

Despite the probable lack of measureable benefits, further QE poses significant risks. It has already triggered a steep decline in the exchange value of the U.S. dollar, and threatens a destabilization of international economic activity, a loss of confidence, and the creation of a "boom-bust" cycle threatening to choke off any economic recovery that does emerge....

One critical question deserves far more attention. After the Fed engages in another round of QE, how will it unwind that position?...It is unlikely that QE will result in a significantly greater use of existing slack capacity and labor in the U.S. economy. But several years from now, as the U.S. economy recovers (no thanks to the Fed, but simply by the emergence of new technologies and markets through innovation), the Fed will have no easy choices. Attempting to sell massive amounts of debt into an expanding economy will risk pressuring interest rates higher and choking off the recovery...."

Complete commentary viewable here.

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