Since its creation in 1913, the primary intended role of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has been that of protector. In theory, the central bank was bestowed with the power to shape monetary policy in a way that would keep both booms and busts in check. The two main tools at its disposal -- interest rates and money creation -- would provide a "ceiling of normalcy" above expansions AND a "net of safety" below contractions.
To this day, the financial mainstream holds great faith in the Fed's ability to fulfill its save-the-day duties -- as these recent news items make plain:
- "Why Raising Fed Funds Rate Is Positive For Equities." (Seeking Alpha)
- "Fed's Moves Lift All Asset Classes." (Associated Press)
- "US Stocks Erasing Losses: The aggressive moves of the Fed have been an important driver for the stabilization of stock prices." (Bloomberg)
But of all the variables the Fed creators took into account, there's one glaring factor they neglected to consider: Namely, it cannot force consumers to spend, creditors to lend, or businesses to borrow. The events of 2007-2009 "credit crunch" and the subsequent "Great Recession" made that obvious. Remember how the government was upset at banks for sitting on the bailout funds instead of lending them out to consumers? And consumers weren't exactly lining up on the street to get a loan, either.
The Fed's inability to change social mood is the central theme in Chapter 13 of EWI President Bob Prechter's NY Times business bestseller book Conquer the Crash. There, Bob describes the Fed's strategy of lowering the federal funds rate to stimulate spending to be as effective as "pushing on a string." Writes Bob:
"The primary basis for today's belief in perpetual prosperity and inflation with an occasional recession is what I call the 'Potent Directors Fallacy.' It is nearly impossible to find a treatise on macroeconomics today that does not assert or assume that the Federal Reserve Board has learned to control both our money and our economy. Many believe that it also possesses the immense power to manipulate the stock market. The very idea that it can do these things is false."
And so begins one of the most groundbreaking studies into the very real INABILITY of the Fed to fell the great bears of economic declines, or to feed the great bulls of economic vigor.
The best part is, you can read Chapter 13 of Conquer the Crash in its entirety FREE via a Club EWI resource "You Can Survive And Prosper In A Deflationary Depression." The free report also includes SEVEN other chapters of Conquer the Crash that shed equal light on some of the most misleading notions of mainstream economic wisdom.