How do you get 23 economists to agree? Criticize Bernanke.
QE2 got a public rebuke from 23 economists, financial writers, and fund managers via an open letter to Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Today, an open letter to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke appeared via the Wall Street Journal questioning the wisdom of the Fed’s round two of quantitative easing. It’s signed by 23 economists, financial writers, fund managers and others, including, to name just a few…
* Richard X. Bove of Rochdale Securities
* Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates
* Niall Ferguson of Harvard University
* James Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
* Seth Klarman of Baupost Group
* David Malpass of GroPac
* John B. Taylor of Stanford University
It’s a group that would not necessarily agree on wide range of issues, but that’s on the same page when it comes to QE2 and the destruction it could potentially unleash on the US economy and wider financial markets.
Here’s a part of the text, as published in WSJ:
“We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called ‘quantitative easing’) should be reconsidered and discontinued. We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances. The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment…
“…We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.
“The Fed’s purchase program has also met broad opposition from other central banks and we share their concerns that quantitative easing by the Fed is neither warranted nor helpful in addressing either U.S. or global economic problems.”
The signatories are members of a group named, e21: Economic Policies for the 21st Century, so are in some way previously organized. However, they still seem to represent at least part of a rising and mainstream current of criticism directed toward the Fed’s ambitious, unpredictable, and most likely ill-fated plan. In the political sense, the outcry came most quickly and loudly from leaders abroad, but the dissent now also appears to be growing increasingly fervent at home. If nothing else, the letter represents more collaborative outrage than we saw with the first round of QE, so, at least in that sense, it’s a start…
You can read the full text of the open letter, the complete list of signatories, and a Fed spokeswoman’s rather boilerplate-sounding response, in the Wall Street Journal’s post on an open letter to Ben Bernanke.
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