Tags: Greenwood | Fed | easing | policy

Financial Post: Fed's Easing Has Helped Some, Hurt Others

By    |   Wednesday, 23 April 2014 02:24 PM

The Federal Reserve's massive easing program has benefited some Americans, borrowers for example, but hurt others, savers for example, says John Greenwood of Canada's Financial Post.

The Fed's balance sheet has ballooned to more than $4 trillion through quantitative easing, and the central bank pushed the federal funds rate target down to a record low of zero to 0.25 percent.

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledges the conundrum. "There was a sense we were favoring Wall Street as opposed to Main Street," he said in a Toronto speech this week, according to the Post. "That is unfortunate, [but I'm] not sure what we could have done differently."

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Some experts agree. "He was in a situation where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t," Pierre Siklos, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, tells the Post. "I have a lot of sympathy for him."

Still, while the Fed's low-interest rate policies may have saved the global financial system from collapse, they also have sparked potentially damaging housing booms in Canada, the Unite Kingdom and parts of Asia, Greenwood writes.

And, of course, Americans dependent on fixed-income payments have suffered.

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein has been critical of the Fed's quantitative easing for some time, and now he says the Fed should address inflation dangers.

"The Fed's leaders should be telling the public and financial markets what they think about the risk that future inflation could rise substantially above the Fed's 2 percent target — and what the Fed would do to prevent such inflation or reverse it if that occurs," Feldstein writes in The Wall Street Journal.

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The Federal Reserve's massive easing program has benefited some Americans, borrowers for example, but hurt others, savers for example, says John Greenwood of Canada's Financial Post.
Greenwood, Fed, easing, policy
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2014-24-23
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 02:24 PM
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