Printing Until the Cows Come Home…
It started out with Jay Powell planting a happy little money tree in 2019 to keep the repo market from suffering a terminal seizure. This essentially led to a restoration of the status quo ante “QT” (the mythical beast known as “quantitative tightening” that was briefly glimpsed in 2018/19). Thus the roach motel theory of QE was confirmed: once a central bank resorts to QE, a return to “standard monetary policy” becomes impossible. You can check in, but you can never leave.
Phase 1: Jay Powell plants a happy little money tree to rescue the repo market from itself (from: “The Joy of Printing”).
It is easy to see why. Any attempt to seriously reduce outstanding central bank credit will bring about the very situation QE was intended to prevent, i.e., falling asset prices and an economic bust. Seemingly no-one in officialdom ever stops to ask why that should be so. What happened to “self-sustaining recoveries” and “achieving escape velocity”? Could it be the economy is neither a perpetuum mobile nor a space ship?
Before we consider this question, here is what has happened since then: shortly after the double-plus-uncool novel SARS-2 corona-virus traversed several ponds and made landfall in the US, Mr. Powell and his fellow merry pranksters decided to water the money tree with super-gro. Or maybe it was hyper-gro:
The “QE” roach motel, illustrated by the history of the Fed’s balance sheet.
That is a rather noteworthy bout of inflation. Readers may have noticed that in the realms of finance and economics there has also been an inflation of verbiage describing never before seen extremes. By its very nature, one would normally not expect to hear the term “unprecedented” very often, but it has become disconcertingly commonplace in connection with monetary pumping, deficit spending and debt growth.
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