by Detlev S Schlichter, Financial Sense:
Where we are
Last month we entered the sixth year of this crisis, although parts of the media seem determined to continue calling it a ‘recovery’. Wishful thinking. We have been in continuous crisis for half a decade. Doses of Valium and Prozac – called QE among central bankers – have calmed nerves occasionally and given the false impression of healing.
QE, or ‘quantitative easing’, is, of course, the creation of massive new quantities of monetary units and their targeted injection into financial markets for the purpose of manipulating asset prices and interest rates, and of flooding the banks with extra free reserves. QE is a dangerous drug. It is a hallucinogen. It can make you feel better for a while but it won’t cure the disease. In fact, it makes you sick. The global economy suffers from grave distortions that are the result of years and decades of artificially cheapened credit: Overstretched banks, too much debt, inflated asset prices, misallocated capital. Cheapening credit further – and manipulating asset prices further – is, however, the MO of QE. QE encourages additional borrowing and further balance sheet expansion.
QE – and zero interest rates – is the policy equivalent of crack cocaine. It makes addictive. There is no end to it.