Harvard’s Feldstein Rips Fed’s Quantitative Easing

Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 11:39 AM

By Dan Weil

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The Federal Reserve is doing nothing but harm to the economy and financial markets with its quantitative easing, says Harvard economist Martin Feldstein.

The Fed is buying $85 million of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities a month to keep interest rates low.

“What the central bank describes as ‘unconventional monetary policy’ is creating dangerous bubbles in asset markets that will lead to higher future inflation and is supporting the explosive growth of the national debt,” Feldstein writes in The Wall Street Journal.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

The Fed’s policy is designed to lift asset markets, such as stocks and real estate. “It has indeed boosted asset prices, although the increase in individual balance sheets has had very little positive impact on real economic activity,” he says.

The problem is that when the Fed stops its quantitative easing, interest rates will rise and asset prices will fall, says Feldstein, former chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“This will have serious adverse effects on investors, particularly highly leveraged institutions and pension funds.”

Others share Feldstein’s dislike of current Fed policy. Financial author William Cohan says it won’t help the middle class.

“Quantitative easing not only hurts older Americans on fixed incomes and those who have dutifully saved for retirement, it also frustrates younger people who can’t afford to take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates,” he writes in The Washington Post.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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