Charles Brady, senior editor of the FOX Business Network, has put together a remarkable chart that clearly shows the Federal Reserve’s monetary easing policies are not going into the U.S. economy, but instead into the stock market.
The chart here compares the Dow Jones Industrial Average with the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank’s adjusted monetary base. It shows the effect of Fed purchases of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities from Fed dealers, whereby the Federal Reserve buys $85 billion total every month from the big banks, hastening the growth in the Fed’s balance sheet to more than $3 trillion.
The central bank has been creating bank reserves out of thin air since September 2008, making it an official enabler to the federal government’s massive fiscal expenditures that now has the federal deficit at more than $16 trillion, with about $6 trillion added since the president took office, more than any other U.S. president combined.
The adjusted monetary base is the sum of currency (including coins) in circulation outside Federal Reserve banks and the U.S. Treasury, plus deposits held by depository institutions at Federal Reserve banks.
You can see how hooked the market is to the central bank’s money printing — the correlation in fact is rather astonishing. It shows the government and the central bank’s power to create money, manipulate market prices, and transfer wealth. The market is powered ahead by a growing strength in corporate profits, too.
Despite the fifth consecutive year of U.S. budget deficits surpassing $1 trillion, the U.S. economy is still growing at just 1.5% annually, and three million more people are out of work since the president took office. Why?
A speech by Richard Fisher. president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs on February 27 gives answers.
The backdrop here: the Federal Reserve has long been running on the racetrack of politics, a world where the closest the government will come to fiscal responsibility is former vice president Al Gore talking about a lockbox -- showing the real crisis is how the U.S. governs itself, and the U.S. economy:
“Employers large and small, privately owned or publicly traded, will tell you that despite access to cheap and abundant capital, they are hesitant to make long-term commitments, including hiring significant numbers of permanent workers.
“They cite uncertain growth prospects for the goods and services they sell at home, where consumption is retarded by slow growth in employment and, lately, by the increase in payroll taxes.
“And abroad, these employers point to the dampened consumption stemming from the economic debacle in Europe and its knock-on effects on China and the export-led emerging economies.
“They are uncertain about fiscal policy, not knowing what their taxes will be and what will happen to all-important federal spending that directly impacts them or their customers.
“They are uncertain as to the ultimate effect on their cost structures of the seemingly endless expansion of health care and other mandates and regulations…
“And, for some, there is a deeply imbedded worry that the Fed’s contortion of the yield curve and cost of money cannot last forever, or, if it lasts too long, will eventually result in financial bubbles and/or uncontrollable inflation, adding another uncertainty to the plethora of uncertain factors that already plague them.
“Credit is super-abundant and stock market behavior is conditioned not so much by the fundamental performance of its underlying companies but by increasing doses of monetary Ritalin.
”Against this backdrop, I am not surprised by the reaction of businesses. Operating in a highly uncertain environment, it is eminently sensible for them to defensively use their newly strengthened balance sheets to buy back shares and pay out dividends or employ them offensively in ways—say, in making acquisitions—that often lead to employee rationalization, not payroll expansion for U.S. workers. This is how businesses really think; this is the way people really are.”
Elizabeth MacDonald joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as stocks editor in September 2007.
Follow Elizabeth MacDonald on Twitter @LizMacDonaldFOX.