Every time the Fed announces another round of QE we hear the “know-nothings” in the media, on Wall Street and in the mainstream economics community tell us that we’re getting more stimulus. And when the Fed does nothing, they scream about how we need more stimulus.
Well, be careful what you wish for!
For as the chart below clearly shows, the Fed actions have removed an enormous amount of interest income from the economy. In fact, it has removed over $100 bln more in interest income than the total net gain in private wages and salaries since it began undertaking these extraordinary measures.
Followers of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) know why this is true: Quantitative easing is nothing more than an asset swap. The Fed removes one asset–a Treasury, for example–and replaces it with a cash balance (reserves) in the banking system. The result is that the private sector is stripped of the interest it would have earned on that Treasury, which is more than the zero-per cent it earns on cash balances.
Case in point, the $80 bln in profits that the Fed earned and turned over to the Treasury last year, was from income earned on the assets it bought. That was income that would have been earned by the private sector if it still had those bonds and securities.
So while the net change in wages and salaries since 2008 has been an increase of $317 bln, personal interest income dropped by $425 bln. That’s not a stimulus by any means. It’s mind boggling that the mainstream economics community and the Fed itself, doesn’t understand this when they incessantly call for more “stimulus.”
Photo: Mike Norman Economics
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