The Research Network Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies (FMM) celebrates their 20th Anniversary Conference this year, and this year’s conference is from Oct 20-22 in Berlin. The title is: "Towards Pluralism in Macroeconomics?" Arbeitskreis Politische Ökonomie, in cooperation with the German chapter of the World Economics Association, want to celebrate this by proposing a panel about "Rethinking Europe", concentrating on the dimension of macroeconomic policies and interdisciplinary approaches.
Why this topic?
Although it is often said that the European Union only deepens with a crises, the year 2016 seems to be decisively different, both by the amount of problems, and their depth, e.g.:
- For the first time ever the formal exit of a member state (UK) is a real possibility
- The deep recession in Europe is far from over, poverty, unemployment, and deprivation are very high in many regions
- The problem of over-indebtedness of some Eurozone member states (esp. Greece) is not solved
- Anti-democratic and nationalistic tendencies, especially in the Eastern countries (Hungary, Poland), are gaining momentum
- The EU position, on how to deal with refugees/migrants, is extremely unsatisfactory
- Central questions of legitimacy for far-reaching economic policies, e.g. how to proceed with CETA/TTIP, are not solved.
We want to discuss such challenges from a structural perspective. We especially welcome contributions about the institutional shaping of a better future for the EU. We need fresh answers for questions such as:
- Is the institutional setting of the EU (Councils, Commission, Parliament) still appropriate?
- Tax competition is a serious problem, but where are the viable solutions?
- The incomplete Eurozone: dissolve it or deepen it – and in both cases how?
- Do we need autonomous EU taxes, and debt?
- How much financial solidarity is appropriate between richer and poorer member states?
- Is there ground for common social standards?
- The refugees/migration crisis won’t be over. Any solutions?
By John Komlos.* The media is inundated with pundits analyzing the unexpected rise of demagoguery. I would like to add my own: the establishment’s utter loss of credibility. It has been fooling most of the people for more than a generation and Abraham Lincoln’s warning, “you cannot fool all of the people all of the time” has now come back to haunt them with a vengeance.**
It took Everyman on Main Street some time to figure out that they’ve been had and finally revolt: thirty five years to be more precise. There has been no shortage of big promises since “Its Morning again in America” but in the end they all left the middle class staring into thin wallets while their manipulators were living high on the hog. The failed big ideas began with Reaganomics. While the stimulating effect of its tax cuts was supposed to “trickle down” to the masses, the flow had the viscosity of molasses and stuck with the rich and the ultra-rich. The taxes of the rich were cut sharply: by about half. Consider a millionaire who was paying $700,000 in taxes in 1970s and whose taxes were cut to $350,000. What was she going to do with the $350,000 windfall? Sure, some spent it on conspicuous consumption but many decided to fund think tanks and hire economists to support their ideology. Others used the windfall to buy politicians in order to change the laws and thereby further their cause. So the tax cuts became a vicious circle that led from the windfall to political power and the ability to influence the public’s worldview and thereby gain further profits and additional power.
Then came Bush Sr. and initiated the North Atlantic Free Trade Association (NAFTA), eventually signed into law by Bill Clinton. He promised that it will “promote more growth, more equality,… and create 200,000 jobs in this country by 1995 alone.” Of course, he failed to mention how many hundreds of thousands of jobs will be destroyed but few noticed such nuances at the time. His economic team was headed by Bob Rubin CEO of investment mega-bank Goldman Sachs. (Goldman Sachs is well represented in DC. It also sent Hank Paulson to help out the Bush Jr. administration.) No one ever said that NAFTA would be good for everyone. Together with globalization including the opening up of China, the trade policies devastated the U.S. manufacturing sector and the middle class with it. And the treaty has a long reach: just last month air conditioning manufacturer Carrier announced that it will move 1,500 jobs to Mexico to its employees’ bitter disappointment.
Deregulation of the financial sector was yet another big idea that was supposed to be good for Americans. And again it was, but only for the elite. Begun in earnest by Reagan, the process was continued by Clinton who declared the FDR-era laws “antiquated” and abolished the Glass-Steagall act that kept commercial banks from speculating on Wall Street with other people’s money and backed by the taxpayers. The new law was supposed to be a “major achievement that will benefit American consumers, communities, and businesses of all sizes”. Note the conspicuous absence of American workers from the list of beneficiaries. At the signing ceremony Clinton said with amazing shortsightedness that we’re “modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down these antiquated walls.” And so we were inching toward the Meltdown of 2008 which wrought havoc among so many members of the middle class.
Bush Jr.’s policies were in a similar spirit. He continued deregulation, lowered taxes to the benefit of the 1%, and closed his eyes to the brewing crisis. When the Meltdown came the establishment lavished favors and billions on the big banks and its CEOs without any strings attached. Nothing left for Main Street. It had to fend for itself. They lost jobs, they were evicted, or had to take low-paying jobs and work two jobs in the gig economy. No one took pity on them.
Then came Barack Obama who made big promises of change but essentially continued many of the policies of his predecessor. He hired Tim Geithner, for instance, a Bush Jr. appointee and a crony of Goldman Sachs CEO Bob Rubin, and who now earns an estimated $5 million salary on Wall Street. Obama provided generous backstop to Wall Street which by the time the tsunami subsided amounted to trillions of dollars which were supposed get the economy going again. But yet again the middle class was betrayed. To be sure, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase continued to collect his compensation of some $17 million for 2009 at tax payers’ largesse but the benefits failed to trickle down. Never in the history of Mankind has so few benefited so much at the expense of so many: not even at the time the pharaohs built the pyramids.
The graph below shows vividly this development. Each bar on the left represents the post-tax (inflation adjusted) income of 1/5th of the 120 million households of this country including transfers such a food stamps and unemployment checks. So each bar represents 24 million households (roughly 64 million people). The graph shows clearly that the top fifth experienced the greatest and only meaningful increase in income during this time span. A tiny bit did trickle down to the 4th fifth (i.e., those whose income was situated above 72 million families but lower than the 96th million). This is the upper-middle class but an income growth of 0.5% per annum is not really noticeable. It amounted to a gain of some $300 per annum: hardly enough to feel a great increase in satisfaction.
The poorest 20% of the population (the first bar) did continue to receive their food stamps so they were not allowed to starve because that could have led to a dangerous destabilization of the society but with an average annual income of $18,000 they had nothing but discontent. That is the cost of sending a child to a state university. They could only afford to send their child to the University if they spent nothing on anything else.
Obviously the two middle-class groups between the 21st and 60th percentage of the population fared the worse: their income growth is hard to distinguish from zero. In fact, the middle middle class (41-60%; the third bar) gained but $32 per annum in the 32 years under consideration.
While the hollowing-out of the middle class is evident on the left side of the graph, its right side breaks down the top 20% into four groups. This makes it clear that the top 1% was the primary beneficiary of economic growth. To be sure some of the growth did trickle down but only to the rest of the three groups of the top 20%. That’s where the trickling became molasses. The upper-middle class did receive some morsels but that was all.
However, the anger that fuels Adolf D. Trump’s candidacy runs even deeper than this graph indicates. The reason is that as far as the anger is concerned, it is relative income that matters and the utter unfair bailouts of 2008 that rescued the 1%. It is one thing not to be able to afford an iphone if no one else has an iphone but an entirely different feeling if the super-rich flaunt not only their latest model but their $3,000 handbags, private jets, yachts, and the other accoutrements of conspicuous consumption. Then envy turns into desperation especially if you’re anxious about your job security, behind on credit card payments, still have a lot to pay off on your student loans, behind on the electric bill, just had to pay $35 overdraft fee, all while working part time or in the gig economy. Hence, I think that the graph below is a more accurate reflection of the welfare of the five income groups. Psychologists have shown that how we feel about our life--our life satisfaction--is reference dependent: relative deprivation matters a lot as we compare our welfare to that of others. The graph below assumes that people use the fifth 20% group as reference and compare their own income to that of the top group.
This graph is the real clue to Trump’s success: the growth rate of welfare is negative for all groups except the superrich. It is as simple as that.The rest of the society was left behind for more than a generation.
In sum, we have had a long string of BIG promises from Reagan to Obama. Tax cuts, trickle-down economics, deregulation, globalization, and NAFTA which all conferred tremendous financial benefits on only one group: the ultra-rich, and led to the “hollowing out” of the middle class. So wealth and its concomitant, political power, became as concentrated as it was during the era of the Robber Barons at the turn of the 20th century.
Now you know why so many have turned on the establishment to support Adolf D. Trump. The establishment was good at making big promises but in the end left few crumbs on the table for the middle class. The establishment is now surprised. They do not understand because they were out of touch with the heartthrob of the nation. This is a generalizable rule: elites are endangered by excessive greed. And being out of touch to the last minute is not uncommon at all. Louis XVI proclaimed prior to his execution that he “always acted from my love of the people.” And Mitt Romney deludes himself to think that the American people will still listen to him. Unbelievable!
* John Komlos is Professsor Emeritus of Economic History at LMU Munich. He is author of What Every Economics Student Needs to Know and Doesn’t Get in the Usual Principles Text.
** This text may be re-published without permission. Translation into German would be appreciated by the author. Please contact the author or the Editor of this weblog before publishing an edited or translated version. Thank you.
For years, former treasury secretary and Harvard-professor Larry Summers has been the most prominent voice in favor of getting rid of cash. For years, he has ignored all ethics rules of professional organizations, which demand of professional academics to disclose any information about potential conflicts of interest whenever they publish their findings or take a stand in public discussion. Now, finally he came clean.
When Larry Summers started the campaign for abolishing cash and moving to a cashless society, as in his speech in front of the IMF in 2013 the argument was, that cash was in the way of interest rates going as low as needed in a stubborn low-growth environment. In the current debate, in which the German government and the ECB have chosen to use the argument of illicit financing of terrorism and tax evasion to justify a planned ban on larger cash transactions and the abolishment of the 500-Euro-note, Summers is opportunistically switching to the same argument in his quest for the cashless society. In a column that appeared on February 16 in the FT, the Washington Post and others, he argued for abolishing the $100-bill. He pointed to a “study” by a Harvard Professor Peter Sands, which purports to show, but simply claims with the most superficial evidence, that getting rid of large denomination banknotes would reduce crime significantly.
It turns out, if you look into it a little more closely, that Sands is a sacked former bank CEO with no academic credentials, who received shelter last summer in Summers Harvard-department and was quite obviously put to work by Summers to put together this piece of propaganda, which Summers then used to justify his push to “kill the $100-bill”.
Neither in Summers blog, nor in the “study” do Summers or Sands disclose Sands’ recent role as the CEO of an institution, which might benefit from the move to a cashless society. However, one does learn in the acknowledgments, that “many politicians, central bankers and senior officials from various governments … were enormously generous with their time and wisdom as I prepared this paper.”
In a new column published on February 25, Sands and Summers jointly defend their proposal. This time, both the FT and the Washington Post run a disclosure that says that Sands was CEO of Standard Chartered and, even more interesting, that Summers “serves as an adviser or board member to a number of financial technology and payments companies”.
The Washington Post on their website also retroactively included this disclosure as an addendum into the first column.
If had let it be known earlier, that the main proponent of moving to a cashless society is an advisor to or board member of “a number of” the institutions who stand to benefit the most financially from such an endeavor, many people would have seen his proposal in a whole different light.
Summers role in the tight inner circle of anti-cash-campaigners, all tightly linked to the Group of 30, Harvard, MIT and the International Financial Institutions in Washington is explored in my forthcoming book (in German on April 11 by Quadriga) "Die Abschaffung des Bargeld und die Folgen" (The Consequences of Abolishing Cash)
Corporate Europe Obversvatory. The European Commission’s “new” investor protection proposal brings the same controversial corporate super rights back from the dead according to a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory and 16 other organisations.
The study’s release comes just before talks on this controversial issue resume in Brussels for the first time after a two year halt.“The zombie ISDS – rebranded as ICS, rights for corporations to sue states refuse to die” shows how the push for foreign investor privileges in EU trade talks such as the proposed EU-US TTIP2 deal continues as the Commission attempts to rebrand the politically untenable investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as an “Investment Court System” (ICS). An unprecedented Europe-wide controversy over the democratic threat posed by ISDS led to last autumn’s rebranding of ISDS as ICS in an attempt to get around the enormous public opposition to legal privileges for multinational corporations.
However, the report shows that under ICS, liability and financial risks would multiply for EU member states as 19 more EU countries could directly be sued by US investors, compared to only nine with an investment treaty with the US today. Over 47,000 companies would be newly empowered to sue (compared to around 4,500 today) and TTIP could invite the launch of nearly 900 US investor lawsuits against EU countries as opposed to 9 claims known under existing treaties.
The report also includes a case study on the stunning US$15 billion damages claim against US President Obama’s rejection of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline by Canadian pipeline developer TransCanada.3 It shows that TransCanada’s lawsuit – like other investor claims against measures to protect health, the environment and other public interests – would be perfectly possible under the ICS as it includes the same far-reaching investor rights relied upon by TransCanada in its claim against the US.
Pia Eberhardt, Corporate Europe Observatory:
“Like a zombie back from the dead, for the first time in two years ISDS will be back on the TTIP negotiation agenda next week. But what the Commission proposes is exactly what people have already rejected: extreme privileges for corporations, which will empower them to claim billions in compensation when laws and regulations undercut their ability to make money. The egregious investor attacks against the public interest, which have provoked public opposition to ISDS would be perfectly possible under the new Commission proposal.”
“Some MEPs want to update the EU-Canada CETA4 deal with this ‘new’ ISDS approach. But the Commission’s ‘new’ ISDS model is as dangerous for democracy, public interest legislation, and taxpayer money as the ‘old’ model enshrined in the EU-Canada CETA deal. The rebranded version contains the same dangerous investor privileges, often in wording identical to the CETA text. We must not be fooled by falling into this PR trap – special rights for multinationals and the rich are unacceptable, in whatever disguise.”
A central bank governor in Athens conspires with the President of the Republic to sabotage the negotiation strategy of his government to weaken it in its negotiations with the European Central Bank. After the government has capitulated, this governor, who is a close friend of the new finance minister and boss of the finance ministers wife, and the President of the Republic travel together to the ECB to collect their praise and rewards. This is not an invention, this is now documented.
On 19 January the German Central Bank in Frankfurt informed the media that the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos visited the ECB and met with ECB-President Mario Draghi, and that he was accompanied by the President of the Greek central Bank, Yanis Stournaras.
Remember. When the Syriza-led government in Athens was in tense negotiations with the European institutions, the ECB excerted pressure by cutting Greek banks off the regular financing operations with the ECB. They could get euros only via Emergency Liquidty Assistance from the Greek central bank and the ECB placed a strict limit on these. Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis worked on emergency plans to keep the payment system going in case the ECB would cut off the euro supply completely.
It has already been reported and discussed that a close aide of Stournaras sabotaged the government during this time by sending a memo to a financial journalist, which was very critical with the governments negotiation tactics and blamed it for the troubles of the banks, which the ECB had intensified, if not provoked.
A few days ago, Stournaras himself exposed a conspiracy. He bragged that he had convened former prime ministers and talked to the President of the Republic to raise a wall blocking Varoufakis’ emergency plan.
In retrospect it looks as if Alexis Tsipras might have signed his capitulation to Stournaras and the ECB already in April 2015, when he replaced Varoufakis as chief negotiator by Euklid Tsakalotos, who would later become finance minister after Varoufakis resigned. In this case the nightly negotiating marathon in July, after which Tsipras publicly signed his capitulation, might just have been a show to demonstrate that he fought bravely to the end.
Why would I suspect that? Because I learned in a Handelsblatt-Interview with Tsakalotos published on 15 January 2016 that he is a close friend of Stournaras. Looking around a bit more, I learned that Tsakalotos wife is “Director Advisor” to the Bank of Greece.
This is the Wikipedia entry:
„Heather Denise Gibson (Greek: Χέδερ Ντενίζ Γκίμπσον; born in Glasgow) is a Scottish economist currently serving as Director-Advisor to the Bank of Greece (since 2011). She is the spouse of Euclid Tsakalotos, current Greek Minister of Finance.”
At the time she entered, Stournaras was serving as Director General of a think tank of the Bank of Greece.
The friendship of the trio goes back decades to their time together at a British university. They even wrote a book together in 1992. (Heather D. Gibson, Yannis Stournaras, Euclid Tsakalotos: The Real and Financial Sectors in Southern Europe: Catch-up, Convergence and Financial Institutions, University of Kent, Canterbury 1992.)
Thus: The former chief negotiator of the Greek government is and was a close friend of the central bank governor and the central bank governor was the boss of his wife. The governor of the Bank of Greece, which is part of the Eurosystem of central banks, gets his orders from the ECB, i.e. the opposing side in the negotiations. He actively sabotaged the negotiation strategy of his government.
If this does not look like an inappropriate association for a chief negotiator, I don’t know, what would.
At a symposium of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament on "The ECB - Europe's unelected government" (video from min. 22), I gave a presentation on the nature and motives of central banks in general and the European Central Bank in particular, characterizing it as an integral part of the banking community. Harald Schumann (from min. 47) presented a lot of juicy detail about highly questionable machinations of the ECB during the bank-"rescues" in Greece and Cyprus. The text of my intervention is below.
Central banks as an integral part of the banking community
Presentation by Norbert Häring at the symposium "The ECB - Europe's unelected government" on 14 Jnauary 2016 at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
What I would like you to do with me today, is to try out a different angle for looking at the ECB and at central banks in general. I will not promise you that you will get the complete picture from this angle, but you might see stuff you have not seen from the usual angles.
From the most common point of view, the ECB looks like a special government entity which wants to promote the interest of the population at large, and does so more or less imperfectly, depending on your attitude. Perspectives differ a bit of course between conservatives and the left. The left would usually accept more inflation to get higher wages and more employment, the right would tend to argue that the general good is served best if inflation is kept low. While disagreement can be fierce, the general angle from which both sides look at the ECB is more or less the same and the ECB’s motivation and nature is not questioned.
This is a major mistake.
A lot of what the ECB does and refuses to do, can be much better understood by thinking of the ECB as an integral part of the banking community, as an institution, which will always side with the banks, whenever the interest of banks should not coincide with the interest of the general public.
This is not at all a far-fetched idea. Historically, central banks were set up as commercial banks. The Bank of England was a commercial bank well into the 20th century.
The Bank of North America, the first predecessor of the Federal Reserve, was created and run by Robert Morris, a banker, for his own profit. He also served as superintendent of finance.
The First Bank of the United States, the next attempt at a central bank, was also a private business and so was the Second Bank of the United States. There was a lot of argument about this fact at the time, and both quasi-central banks lost their charters, because they were accused of furthering bankers’ interests instead of the interest of the general public.
Finally, the plan for setting up the current US Central Bank, the the Federal Reserve System was created at a secret meeting of the most influential international bankers of the time. It was pushed through a reluctant congress at Christmas of 1913 when few paid attention.
The governance of this central bank was intentionally set up in such a way, that government would have very little control and bankers very much.
Over the decades, as these banker controlled central banks failed miserably. Governments asserted more and more control.
However, economists invented a theory of time inconsistency to pry away central banks from any control of the government again and in effect give control back to the banks. They argued for and got the same independence from government as the bankers had originally secured then the Fed was created. But note that at the time the Fed was created, stabilizing inflation was not even a target of the Fed and thus time inconsistency was not an issue.
The fact that commercial banks’ control the Federal reserve can best be seen in the US where all the regional Federal Reserves are owned and controlled by the commercial banks of the respective area, including the mighty New York Fed, which is in charge of supervising Wall Street.
Things are not so much different in Europe. During the financial crisis, commercial banks in Italy had a problem with a lack of capital. What did they do. The nominal capital of the Bank of Italy was written up by some billions. This resulted in a large capital increase for the big banks, which own the capital of the Bank of Italy. The Bank of Italy has a very large hoard of gold. Now it is clear, who this gold belongs to. It does not belong to the Italian people. It belongs to the financial institutions which own the Bank of Italy.
Let’s stop here with the historical and institutional detail and look at the words and deeds of our central banks.
First to the words. All central bankers agree, according to Jens Weidmann, that capital markets have to be in charge of supervising governments’ fiscal policy. In this, they are in total agreement with people like Rolf Breuer, former CEO of Deutsche Bank, who wrote a long article about the virtues of having governments supervised by the fifth power. “The 5. Power” is another word for financial markets which is another expression for “large international financial institutions”.
The ECB and other central banks do not only talk about the control of financial institutions over governments, they enforce it vigorously. They have even brainwashed the German constitutional court, which held that it would be unconstitutional, if governments would be relieved from the pressure of financial markets.
The ECB is not even hiding its very warm and protective feelings for commercial banks. It wears them as a badge of honor, saying that everything which is good for banks is good for the economy and thus for all the people.
The economy and governments, thanks to a system controlled by the ECB, are so dependent of healthy banks, that this is true. Thus, it even makes sense, bizarrely, that a declared priority of the banking supervisory arm of the ECB for this year is to check profitability of supervised banks. Large banks, supervised by the ECB, will have the treat of having a very powerful institution working on ways to increase profits with them. Too-big-to fail will not go away like that.
By the way, that the ECB’s supervisors look after the profitability of bankd is a suggestion from the Group of Thirty. This is a conspiratorial group of high level commercial bankers and central bankers, including Mario Draghi, which meets behind closed door.
There is much more to say, but time is short. Let’s go to the main deeds.
The ECB’s quantitative easing programme has been ineffective in delivering its purported primary objectives of producing higher spending, higher inflation and a return to economic growth.
This is because it relies on the banking sector and financial markets.
In their own verbiage central banks focus on incentivizing banks to lend more, but this is only a minor effect of QE. In the countries where more lending is needed, banks are week and want to repair their balance sheets and credit risk is relatively high. Thus, not much extra lending is happening.
The easier way for banks to make use of extra ECB money is to buy stuff. Banks can buy stocks and bonds and real estate, driving up the prices of such assets. Some admit that this is a major channel they have in mind (Bank of England, Greenspan), with others it is clear from their actions. They pay close attention to the stock market and get very nervous if it tanks
The Federal Reserve has been giving signals for years that in about nine or twelve months’ time they would raise rates. But then, some stock market weakness would always occur and they would reverse course.
The ECB signaled last autumn, that they would intensify their QE-programme and maybe lower rates more, which they eventually did. There were basically no bad news from the economic side. But stock markets had tanked badly over the summer.
If the ECB is seen as an institution which has the purpose to protect and help enrich the financial sector and the rich, the ECB had done a stellar job, at least until the end of last year. The assets whose prices are driven up by such financial market oriented policies are disproportionally owned by the rich and by the financial sector. In the US, the top 0.1 percent now own as much of them as the bottom half of the population. In Europa it is not quite as bad, but similar.
To be sure, some advantages from booming asset markets, or from asset markets that are prevented from imploding trickle down to ordinary people earning their living in the real economy, but this is only a second order effect. First and foremost it makes bankers and other rich people even richer.
Between the post-Lehman low and the end of 2015, stock markets in the US and Germany have almost tripled, in the Euro area almost doubled. In the US and Germany they have been – at the end of 2015 – significantly higher than the pre-Lehman record highs, in the Euro area, they came close. Financial institutions and rich people who own these and other central-bank-inflated assets do not have any reason to complain.
As an aside: The term trickle-down was first used by an American comedian Will Rogers, mocking the misguided depression-era policies of Herbert Hoover. He said: “the money was all allocated to the top, in the hopes it would trickle down to the needy.”A few decades later, economists made this a dogma and were not even ashamed to call it trickle-down economics.
What are the alternatives? What does the ECB not do, because it is not in the interest of the banking community.
They would not countenance “QE for People” or “monetary financing” that would direct new money into the real economy rather than into asset markets. They would not do this, even though, such alternative monetary policy mechanisms can be expected to be many times more effective than QE in boosting demand and output.
There are several options for how monetary financing could boost demand in the real economy. Two examples are: The ECB could transfer newly created money to national governments. These governments would then use the newly created funds to increase their spending. Alternatively, the newly created money could be distributed equally between every citizen of the Eurozone. This type of “citizen’s dividend” would put additional purchasing power directly into people’s pockets.
There is just no way, that either of these measures would not boost demand. And this would be achieved without anybody going deeper into debt, as the current policy requires to be effective. And it is very easy to finetune. Send out a check of 500 Euro to every citizen. If it is not enough, send another one. Until it is enough to get the economy going.
Otmar, Issing, the former ECB Chief Economist, who went directly into a highly paid lobbying- job at Goldman Sachs after his departure from the ECB, said correctly that this would be a disastrous option for the commercial banks and the ECB. Citizens or governments would want to continue this mechanism even in non-crisis times. This would mean, that no money would be left over to be given to the banks as a gift.
You do not even have to rely on my word regarding the effects of QE. You can rely on the word of central bankers and of the super rich, who should know.
Andew Huszar of the Fed apologized in the Wall Street Journal:
“I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the Fed's quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time. Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The banks enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.”
Donald Trump said:in 2012 on CNBC on Quantitative Easing:
“People like me will benefit from this.”
In August 2012 the Bank of England admitted in a report that its quantitative easing had benefited mainly the wealthy. It said that its QE program had boosted the value of stocks and bonds by 26 percent, or about $970 billion and that about 40 percent of those gains went to the richest 5 percent of British households. (…)The BOE countered critics by stressing that the benefits of easing may have trickled down, and that “without the Bank's asset purchases, most people in the U.K. would have been worse off."
Billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller said the on the occasion of a Federal Reserve’s decision to delay tightening of its monetary policy:
“This is fantastic for every rich person. This is the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever.Who owns assets—the rich, the billionaires. You think Warren Buffett hates this stuff? You think I hate this stuff? I had a very good day yesterday.”
Thank you exploring this alternative perspective with me.