With the Bank of England already deep into the process of printing money by buying back the government’s debt, The Fed has yet to attempt this operation, preferring to buy corporate bonds instead.
The potential inflationary effects are the main are of concern. Others take the line that the Bank in the UK could do little else to boost the money supply, while a few politicians have pointed out that broad money (M4) is already rising by 20+ percent.
The BBC’s Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders, weighs in with an informative piece on how the Americans are doing it — mainly by buying corporate bonds, not Treasuries:
Ahead of the curve
A good primer on the pros and cons is given by the BBC’s Business Editor, Robert Peston on his blog:
Will QE work?
My favourite is by the Daily Mail’s City Editor, Alex Brummer, who today gives an emphatic thumbs down to the whole operation.
Bank’s great experiment may prove gamble too far
Syntagma also greeted the “new dawn” of lumpen monetarism with incredulity:
Watch out for the mashed potato machine
Food for thought.
Gerard Baker, writing in the Times (London) today says, “US economic activity is collapsing so fast that it is hard to keep up with just how bad things are. The various monthly data releases are ancient history by the time they are published, even the most up-to-date ones.”
The loss of half a million jobs in November was particularly calamitous. Nothing like it has been seen for 30 years or more.
The upcoming President, Barack Obama, promised last weekend to create 2.5 million jobs by a massive fiscal stimulus. This has to be set against the Bush stimulus last year which broadly had little effect. People simply tucked the money away, or paid off debt.
Obama wants to spend on roads and transport. He also wants money to go to green and information technology-based infrastructure.
Meanwhile the Fed has been using so-called “quantitative easing” in the wake of its dramatic cuts in interest rates. That means printing money and buying assets of all kinds. So far, nothing seems to be working.
Finally, when there are no more cliffs to fall off, we may see some “green shoots” of recovery.
Hold your breath if you dare.