Tags: Fed | taper | risky | stimulus

USA Today: Delaying Fed's Taper Is 'Risky Business'

By Michael Kling   |   Friday, 20 Sep 2013 08:21 AM

Critics are assailing the Federal Reserve for continuing its quantitative easing stimulus, saying it will distort markets, inflate bubbles and create inflation.

The Fed's decision "is risky business," asserts one of those critics, USA Today's editorial board.

Stock markets soared following the Fed's announcement.

Editor’s Note:
5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

"And why not? Everyone likes easy money. They're a lot less likely to enjoy the inevitable post-party cleanup," the editorial board states, urging the Fed to take away the punch bowl.

Delaying the decision to reduce the stimulus only makes reducing it more difficult, argues the paper.

Stimulus is good for a short time while the economy is poor, but if it goes too long while the economy is already recovering, "it does more harm than good."

"Excessive monetary stimulus from the Fed distorts markets, invites inflation and creates the conditions under which bubbles emerge."

The Fed's low interest rates under then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in the early years of the century helped inflate the housing bubble, the editorial board claims.

"Today, a case can be made that home prices and stocks are approaching bubble territory. The former are at levels not seen since 2008, and the latter set record highs again on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Treasurys are almost certainly in some kind of bubble."

Plenty of others disagree, saying the Fed made the right decision because the economy remains weak, labor markets continue to struggle and inflation is almost non-existent.

Those who had opposed tapering were "relieved," writes Jared Bernstein, a former Obama Administration economist, on his blog.

"It won't make a huge difference, of course, but given how extremely elastic the market, and especially longer-term interest rates, have been to any suggestion of the Fed pulling back, they made the right move. In other words, not tapering yet won't make things much better more quickly, but they'll keep them from getting worse."

With high inflation not in sight and persistent high unemployment, the dangers of shrinking the stimulus too quickly and too soon far outweigh the risks of continuing the program for the time being, argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

"To err is human; to err on the side of growth is wise," he writes.

"Don’t taper, don’t tighten, until you can see the whites of inflation’s eyes. Give jobs a chance."

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

Related stories:

Druckenmiller: 'We're Really Going to Party Now' That the Fed Didn't Taper

Analysts: No Fed Taper Reignites Risk of Currency War

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