We now have the announcement that Ben Bernanke’s Fed will buy $45 billion a month in treasuries, QE4, until unemployment reaches 6.5% or his version of inflation exceeds 2.5%. What a surprise!
Last September, when Bernanke announced the third phase of the government’s program of borrowing from itself by creating new money and using it to buy government bonds, I wrote:
Bernanke says that the new announced round of money printing (QE3 plus more Twist) is intended to reduce unemployment. Does he believe that? It is possible that Bernanke really drinks his own Cool Aid, but I doubt it. Does he think that stock market gains will boost confidence and somehow help employment indirectly? Perhaps. He has in the past claimed credit for spiking the stock market, although he must know that the empirical evidence does not show a link to employment gains.
Why then this dramatic move only two months before a presidential election?…
The most likely explanation is that Bernanke is worried about the treasury auction market. He wants to be able to use his printed money at will to support it…. Ostensibly the QE3 purchases will be mortgages…. The program can always shift into treasuries at any time….