Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fed Virtually Funding the Entire US Deficit: Lindsey


CNBC
September 26, 2012
Raymond Boyd | Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

The latest round of extraordinary Federal Reserve stimulus is risky and leaves little room to maneuver should another crisis hit, economist Lawrence Lindsey told CNBC’s“Squawk Box” on Wednesday.

Lindsey said that with the Fed purchasing at least $40 billion a month in mortgage debt through QE3, “they are buying the entire deficit.” (Read moreFed Pulls Trigger, to Buy Mortgages in Effort to Lower Rates.)

“I have no problem doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times,” said Lindsey, a former White House economic advisor under former president George W. Bush who now runs his own consulting firm.

Lindsay said he agreed with the Fed’s first two rounds of quantitative easing. Now, with the economy now growing closer to its trend rate, “doing something that’s really out of the ordinary is risking things.”
He added, “If this becomes the new ordinary, it’s hard to imagine the Fed’s maneuvering room” should another crisis hit. (Read More: Why Fed Policy Just Like the NFL Refs: El-Erian.)

The central bank's recently announced bid to stimulate the economy has also taken the pressure off politicians to deal with the U.S. fiscal cliff, Lindsay argued, which could result in destabilizing tax hikes and spending cuts automatically taking effect early next year.

“The Fed, maybe because it can't do otherwise, has told the Congress: 'We're going to buy your bonds no matter what,'” Lindsey said. “I think that's keeping the pressure off the president, off the Congress.”

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