It’s an interesting dynamic that the Federal Reserve has conjured in the decade after the 2008 credit crash. They spent several years using artificial stimulus measures to inflate perhaps the largest financial bubble in the history of the US, and then a couple years ago something changed. They addicted markets and investors to easy cash only to then cut off the flow of monetary heroin. The system was so dependent on the Fed’s “China White” that all it took to give everyone the shakes was interest rate hikes to the neutral rate of inflation and a moderate balance sheet selloff. Now, the system is dying from shock and it’s too late for intravenous stimulus to save it.
For many this might seem unprecedented, but it’s really rather common. The Fed has a long history of inflating bubbles using easy liquidity and then imploding those bubbles with the tightening of credit. It also has a long history of pretending like it is trying to save the economy from crisis when it is actually the source of the crisis. As Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. warned after the panic of 1920:
“Under the Federal Reserve Act, panics are scientifically created; the present panic is the first scientifically created one, worked out as we figure a mathematical problem…”
In the latest theatrics of the Fed, a new trend has emerged – The “disappointing Fed”. In order to understand this disappointment, we have to define exactly what markets want from the central bank. Obviously, they want QE4; a massive liquidity program. For the past year at least they have been clamoring for it, and they still have yet to get it. But what does QE4 entail? In order to institute a new QE marathon the Fed would have to:
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