How Quantitative Easing Helps the Rich and Soaks the Rest of Us

September 24, 2012

In the face of slow growth, the Federal Reserve has pursued another round of quantitative easing to help alleviate economic concerns. However, the Fed's policy is simply a regressive redistribution program that has been boosting wealth for those already engaged in the financial sector or those who already own homes, but passing little along to the rest of the economy, according to Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation.

The current round of easing would have the Occupy Wall Street movement up in arms with its policies that help the wealthy.

  • Quantitative easing causes stock prices to rebound. This is at the crux of the trickle-down theory: that more wealth will help those lower on the economic ladder.
  • Furthermore, most equity shares exist with the wealthiest 10 percent, which means that quantitative easing affects a narrow population of Americans.
  • Additionally, quantitative easing will drive investors to invest in commodities, which raises the price of things like gas, meat and bread.
  • Finally, the Fed has made it easier for corporations to borrow money by artificially making interest rates cheaper.

Crucially, it is time to realize that quantitative easing isn't the solution to the lackluster economic performance. The very issue that got us into the financial crisis (cheap loans that allowed businesses to leverage housing prices) is the same one that the Fed is endorsing in their policy.

The new plan will simply increase the number of bad, risky investments and increase income inequality. Even if banks begin to lend more, it won't help people out of debt or improve the housing market. It won't help clear toxic debt or change the number of foreclosures that need to be processed. In the end, it won't help the average American very much at all.

Source: Anthony Randazzo, "How Quantitative Easing Helps the Rich and Soaks the Rest of Us," Reason, September 13, 2012.

 

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