Friday, December 14, 2012

More QE, Please

Said Bernanke: "More QE is planned
To give job creation a hand"
(Though it's tricky to know
How banks full of dough
In the aggregate, pump up demand).

Ben Bernanke's announcement of a shift in Fed policy has baffled many in the markets, as Heidi Moore writes in the Guardian. Having moved from a regimen in which rate-setting was linked to both unemployment and inflation, to one in which low inflation is simply assumed while a jobless rate cap of 6.5% is targeted, has raised a number of questions as to implementation and projected timing of eventual interest rate hikes.

More broadly though is the question of how, when US banks already have over $1 trillion in reserves, flooding the system with even more cash will make a difference in the pace of hiring. Most economists agree that the proximate cause of our unemployment level is the lack of aggregate demand. The Fed's purchasing of more billions of Treasury and mortgage bonds may lower yields and therefore move investors into riskier assets such as equities. However, with regard to job creation, quantitative easing is more of a desperation play by a central bank that wishes that the Federal government would hire people to fix the damn infrastructure, already, but expects that they won't.

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