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Money For Nothing: Documentary Points to Fed as an Agent of Financial Crisis

By    |   Friday, 13 September 2013 08:35 AM

A new documentary titled "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve" blames the U.S. central bank for the Great Recession and raises concerns that the Fed may be the culprit of yet another crisis.

The film makes the case that "the Fed's easy-money policies gave everyone from homeowners to investors to financial institutions an incentive to inflate an enormous speculative bubble," the American Banker states.

Filmmaker Jim Bruce cleverly raises "the spectre of another financial crisis" driven by the Fed's decision to maintain monetary reserves at historically low interest rates, according to Forbes' Robert Lenzner, a former investment banker.

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The cast makes the film convincing, says the American Banker, which notes that there's "not a single nut" in it, but rather an articulate bunch that most importantly includes Fed insiders.

Outspoken monetary critics like former Fed officials Alan Blinder, Thomas Hoenig and Allan Meltzer draw the connection between the bubbles in dot.com companies and in real estate and the low-interest rate policies, Lenzner notes.

And investment experts like Jeremy Grantham, Gary Shilling and Jim Grant, who have big followings on Wall Street, repeatedly cite the present dangers in the film.

"Brutal reality interrupts the background rationale for a central bank that was supposed to prevent national crises," Lenzner contends.

The film is said to drive home the fact that the Fed was not established to throw cheap money at the nation's problems, which is the takeaway Bruce is aiming for. The filmmaker believes the Fed must end easy money policies and he is concerned about the central bank's strategy to unwind its massive balance sheet.

"I like that the title of the film speaks to that longer-run issue, 'How long can you continue to borrow and print as a country without anything backing your currency?'" the filmmaker tells the American Banker.

"I don't see an endgame strategy," he adds. "How are we going to get out of this?"

Bruce hopes that raising public awareness may help redirect the Fed's course.

"If people have more of an opinion and pay more attention and there is more of an awareness of what the Fed is doing, that will create accountability and I think we will get better policies," he explains to the American Banker.

"To the extent that people are aware that today's boom is tomorrow's bust, we might get Fed policies that are less procyclical."

Bruce's motives were apparently on target with Lenzner's.

"The film pretty well convinced me to be uneasy about the way that easy money policies begun by Alan Greenspan to bail out Wall Street have been followed to the T by Ben Bernanke the last eight years," he writes.

Lenzner advises President Obama and his top advisors to immediately order up a private viewing of the "trenchant and worrisome documentary" before selecting the next Fed chairman.

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A new documentary titled "Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve" blames the U.S. central bank for the Great Recession and raises concerns that the Fed may be the culprit of yet another crisis.
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Friday, 13 September 2013 08:35 AM
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