Tags: Wien | Fed | taper | spending

Blackstone's Wien: Fed Shouldn't Taper, Government Should Spend

By    |   Friday, 09 August 2013 08:09 AM

The U.S. economy doesn't need less stimulus from the Federal Reserve; the nation needs more stimulus in the form of government spending, according to Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners.

The question on the minds of many is whether the Fed will start to taper after its September policy meeting.

"I don't see any reason for tapering whatsoever," Wien told CNBC. "There are no signs in terms of the macro factors that would indicate that the Fed should stop easing."

Editor’s Note:
Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

Wien claimed the Fed cannot justify a reduction of asset purchases because its targets haven't been met. Inflation is still too low and unemployment remains too high.

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, said during a presentation called "The Tapering Debate" that a key issue the Fed faces is deciding which measures to use to judge the labor market.

On one hand there is non-farm payroll employment and unemployment. But there are also broader factors, such as labor-force participation and the employment population ratio.

"If [you look at] the former, then labor markets have clearly improved since September 2012. If the latter, then labor markets may be judged to remain weak, but the criterion for labor market improvement would be considerably muddied," Bullard said.

A key issue in the inflation debate is whether the current low levels of inflation will naturally move up toward 2 percent in the coming months and quarters, Bullard explained.

If the answer is yes, Bullard says the Federal Open Market Committee could taper without worrying about pushing inflation even further below target. "If no, then inflation may be pushed even lower by a decision to taper and hence the risk of deflation may increase."

Even gross domestic product is not a clear-cut issue because the Fed needs to determine whether to look at past growth or future growth.

"If the former, then growth has clearly been weak in recent quarters. If the latter, then growth may be judged to be improving, but forecasting performance for this variable has been poor over the last several years," Bullard said.

Bullard concluded the "committee needs to see more data on macroeconomic performance for the second half of 2013 before making a judgment" about tapering.

For Wien, there is no debate to be had. He told CNBC this economy "needs" the Fed to continue its asset purchases at the current pace.

"We're totally dependent on monetary stimulus to keep this economy humming along at a modest 2 percent growth rate," he told CNBC.

In fact, Wien believes the government needs to provide additional stimulus by spending money on job training, infrastructure, research and development.

"The fiscal side would help the 80 percent" who aren't benefiting from stock market gains and "the rise in high-end real estate prices," Wien told CNBC, insisting, "we've got to provide incentives" to get the middle class to spend.

Editor’s Note: Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

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The U.S. economy doesn't need less stimulus from the Federal Reserve; the nation needs more stimulus in the form of government spending, according to Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners.
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2013-09-09
Friday, 09 August 2013 08:09 AM
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