The Federal Reserve’s massive subsidy to Wall Street known as “quantitative easing” or QE, was controversial from the beginning. Many have opposed the program for a variety of reasons from inflation fears to the fact that the program is socialism for the rich – giving hundreds of billions dollars to the 1% and giving nothing but debts to the 99%. The program has achieved little for the overall economy but has re-inflated assets in the financial markets. Assets held overwhelmingly by the wealthy families and commercial banks the Fed serves.
But the critics of QE have usually been outsiders, until now.
Andrew Huszar, a former Federal Reserve official, has decided to come clean on the disastrous QE program in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.
Yes, that is smoke coming from that gun.
Huszar admits Bernanke’s cover story of helping drive down interest rates for struggling homeowners and small businesses was deception. The Fed knew QE was having no effect on helping banks make loans, the program’s only actual function was to let Wall Street siphon money directly from an increasingly compromised central bank.
Despite the Fed’s rhetoric, my program wasn’t helping to make credit any more accessible for the average American. The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn’t getting much cheaper. QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash…
As for the rest of America, good luck. Because QE was relentlessly pumping money into the financial markets during the past five years, it killed the urgency for Washington to confront a real crisis: that of a structurally unsound U.S. economy. Yes, those financial markets have rallied spectacularly, breathing much-needed life back into 401(k)s, but for how long? Experts like Larry Fink at the BlackRock investment firm are suggesting that conditions are again “bubble-like.” Meanwhile, the country remains overly dependent on Wall Street to drive economic growth.
A program of socialism for the rich that disgustingly cloaked itself under the cover of helping the common American. And unfortunately the bill for the seemingly endless subsidy to Wall Street will come due when this bubble bursts and the economy re-collapses.
But you can rest assured that the banksters will make out fine as every tool of government will be used, once again, to put out the blaze started by markets overheated by reckless greed. Because while the fire was smoldering inside, all the furniture was being hauled out the back to trucks headed for Manhattan.