The Federal Reserve Bank "has checked into the Roach Motel of monetary policy," says Peter Schiff in a new rant about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's latest harebrained scheme.
Variously called Operation Twist, Quantitative Easing 3, and (by Schiff) Operation Screw, the new Fed plan to buy $40 billion worth of high-risk debt at low interest rates each month until morale improves is, Schiff says, the kind of thing that should make Bernanke a figure of fun for all Americans.
"How can reinflating a housing bubble be all that you've got?" asks the investment broker and doomsaying financial commentator. "I mean how long did it take you to come up with this idea? How many brains at the Federal Reserve? Apparently there was only one guy that dissented. It was almost unamimous. Can you imagine everybody at the Fed sitting around this big table. 'How do we revive the economy? What's the plan?' And somebody comes up with, 'Let's create a housing bubble, so we can create a bunch of wealth, and people will go out and spend it, and we can get people to speculate on real estate prices because they're going up, and all this is gonna create jobs in the housing sector, it will cause more home building, more home remodeling, we'll be able to consume more.' Somebody came up with that, and then somebody else said 'Great idea!' Didn't they see that movie? Don't they know how it ends?"
Because I make fun of alarmist and apocalyptic language whe it is used by Keynesian interventionists, it's fair to point out that Schiff calls the QE3 decision "a day that will live in infamy," announcing that the Fed has "sealed its fate" and put "the final nail in U.S. dollar and the entire American economy." I keep my deep longing for the apocalypse in check by remembering that central planners can hurt but not really control an American population that has been getting broker every year since 2007.
But monetary expansion, whether it's done through QE, the fed funds rate or a handcranked printing press, was achieving one of Bernanke's goal's even before Thursday's announcement: It's making personal wealth formation impossible again. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis' latest monthly Personal Income and Outlays report [pdf] "Personal saving — disposable personal income less personal outlays — was $506.3 billion in July, compared with $516.2 billion in June. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was 4.2 percent in July, compared with 4.3 percent in June."