Tags: Forbes | Fed | stock | market

Forbes: Fed and Stocks Like 'Steroids in Baseball'

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 07:08 PM

By Dan Weil

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The Federal Reserve’s massive easing program may have helped the stock market rise to record highs now, but it’s going to hurt later, says Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media.

“Like steroids in baseball, it ultimately wrecks the player,” he tells CNBC. “The government is making it easier to borrow money for mortgage-backed securities and the like, and small businesses, households have a hard time getting credit.”

That’s why the economy only grew 2.5 percent in 2010, 2.0 percent in 2011, and 1.5 percent last year, Forbes says. “We’re not creating the foundation of small businesses that create the jobs and are the big companies of the future.”

Editor's Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

The fact that interest rates are near record lows doesn’t by itself facilitate borrowing, Forbes says. “This like the old Soviet Union. Somebody said health care is free, but you can't get it,” he says.

Regulators “jump on” banks when they lend to smaller, riskier businesses, Forbes says. “So banks with excess reserves lend to big companies and lend to the government, but not to the small businesses,” he explains.

“You have this perverse environment. The job creators, the real ones who create future prosperity, are having a hard time getting credit.”

Forbes compares Fed policy to rent control – “very good for luxury housing,” but not so good for lower-middle class people looking for housing.

As for the stock market rally, “I'll take it, especially in nominal terms,” Forbes says. “But we have to remember we reached this in real terms in the late 1990s, and since then the economy, for all its woes, is much larger, and yet the stock market is stuck.”

Today’s stock market reminds Forbes of that between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s – a lot of ups and downs with little overall direction.

“We may see a correction, but just remember the market keeps going up and down. We're not having that great leap forward that we had in the '80s and '90s.”

Asked how the stock market has been able to withstand Washington’s dysfunction, including the fiscal cliff and the sequester, Forbes cites “the extraordinary vitality of the American economy, despite all the abuses in Washington.”

Moreover, our economy is in good shape compared to Japan and Western Europe, he notes. “But eventually, even this economy will buckle if they continue with the perverse policies, raising taxes, piling on regulations and the Federal Reserve starving small businesses of credit.”

Financial commentator Robert Wiedemer, best-selling author of "Aftershock," isn’t so impressed with stocks and the Fed either. He says the stock market’s record-setting rally has resulted from Fed easing, not from economic strength.

“Fed money-printing is important” for the stock market, Wiedemer tells Newsmax TV. “The economy isn’t doing particularly well. This isn’t the economy of 2007.”

Indeed, the economic recovery is “100 percent fake,” he says. “It’s built on Fed money-printing and government borrowing. Both are at record levels. That’s absolutely crucial to this market rally.”

Editor's Note: Billionaires Dump Stocks. Prepare for the Unthinkable.

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