The Federal Reserve has spent more than $2 trillion buying up assets since 2008 (often government bonds and mortgage securities) in an attempt to shore up the economy. Proponents argued what was called “quantitative easing” or QE was necessary “based on the idea that without it, the nation’s economy would have imploded,” according to Investor’s Business Daily.
But a new Fed study that looked at the $600 billion QE2 program suggests that wasn’t the case, IBD reported on the front page of its Aug. 20 edition.
Fed economists from the San Francisco and New York Federal Reserve Banks found that “Asset purchase programs like QE2 [second round of quantitative easing] appear to have, at best, moderate effects on economic growth and inflation.”
How much did the QE stimulus boost the economy? IBD wrote that the study found it “likely boosted GDP by a mere 0.13 percentage point.” In other words, “$600 billion in QE2 spending boosted GDP by less than $200 billion.”
IBD said it isn’t sure the Fed will be able to sell off those debts without an impact on the economy: “Once the Fed begins selling off its massive $3.6 trillion in assets acquired under the QE program (see chart), it will send interest rates surging and tank the economy.”
The business newspaper also criticized the Fed program for becoming “the No. 1 enabler of a spendthrift government that’s pushing us to the brink of fiscal disaster.”