The Mnuchin-Powell Affair over the Fed’s “Special Purpose Vehicles” in Dollars & Effects

Why do bondholders and leveraged speculators have to be enriched, instead of providing fiscal relief to the unemployed and small businesses? That’s the question.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell replied on Friday afternoon with his own “Dear Mr. Secretary” letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s “Dear Chair Powell” letter on Thursday. Both letters were full of compliments for the other and for their cooperation and for their success in inflating asset prices. But with regards to asset prices in the credit markets, Mnuchin’s letter gave specific metrics and said enough is enough. And Powell’s letter said, OK, the Treasury can have the taxpayer money back that it sent us.

You’d think something earth-shattering happened based on the media hullabaloo that ensued.

On Thursday afternoon, Mnuchin informed the Fed of two things: One that he would not extend again the already extended expiration date of December 31 of five of the controversial over-the-line Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) the Fed had set up earlier this year under the direction of the Treasury to bail out and enrich bondholders, particularly junk-bond holders and speculators with huge leveraged bets; and two, that he wants the Fed to return the $455 billion in taxpayer money the Treasury had sent to the Fed to fund these SPVs with equity capital, and that the Fed has not used.

The actual bond purchases the Fed did under these five SPVs were minuscule by Fed standards, whose balance sheet is measured in trillions of dollars. Those SPVs were mostly used as a jawboning tool to inflate asset prices.

Between the Fed’s first announcement of these SPVs in March and the end of October, the Fed bought just $22.6 billion under these five programs, including corporate bonds, corporate bond ETFs, asset-backed securities, municipal bonds, and bank loans to main-street businesses, a minuscule amount considering its $7.24 trillion with a T in total assets. Specifically, it bought:

  • $13.3 billion under the SPV the Fed calls Corporate Credit Facilities (CCF), which combines the PMCCF and the SMCCF under which the Fed buys corporate bonds, corporate junk bonds, corporate bond ETFs, and junk-bond ETFs.
  • $3.8 billion under TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility) under which the Fed lends to speculators for them to buy asset-backed securities and place those securities as collateral at the Fed, on a nonrecourse basis, meaning there’s zero risk for investors, and they get all the gains.
  • $1.6 billion under MLF (Municipal Liquidity Facility) under which the Fed lends to municipalities.
  • $3.9 billion under MSLP (Main Street Lending Program), where the Fed supports banks to make loans to small businesses.

The total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet as of Wednesday amounted to $7.24 trillion, a tad higher than on June 10, with a dip in the middle. Of that $7.24 trillion in assets, the $22.6 billion in these to be expiring SPVs is so small that it cannot even be marked into this chart:

In his letter on Thursday, Mnuchin listed 12 key financial metrics to show that those SPVs did accomplish their goal of bailing out and enriching bondholders and leveraged speculators, and in the process, they created wondrous credit markets that are now frothing at the mouth.

And the Fed did it, as Mnuchin acknowledged, almost exclusively through hype and jawboning, instead of actually buying the corporate bonds and other instruments. And most of the money the Treasury had sent remained unused, and could now be used for direct Covid-related fiscal relief by the government instead of enriching bondholders via the Fed.

In an interview on CNBC, Mnuchin, after being accused of playing political games, said all the right things – maybe for the wrong reasons – when discussing why he’d let these five SPVs expire as planned:

“We’re not trying to hinder anything. We’re following the law,” he said. “I am being prudent and returning the money to Congress like I’m supposed to,” he said. “This is not a political decision.” And he said, “The people that really need support right now are not the rich corporations, it is the small businesses.”

Powell himself has been badgering Congress for months to provide more fiscal support to small businesses and other entities because the Fed was not well suited to do so, which was the reason the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) never really got off the ground.

OK, what Mnuchin didn’t say was that bondholders and bond-speculators have gotten immensely rich by the market’s reaction to the March announcement of these SPVs and the hype and jawboning that came along with it, as bond prices surged across the board.

Powell  in his “Dear Mr. Secretary” letter on Friday afternoon told Mnuchin – after going through the same kind of mutual back-slapping Mnuchin had gone through – that the Fed would return those taxpayer funds to the Treasury. He said:

“You have indicated that the limits on your authority do not permit the CARES Act facilities to make new loans or purchase new assets after December 31, 2020, and you have requested that we return Treasury’s excess capital in the CARES Act facilities. We will work out arrangements with you for returning the unused portions of the funds allocated to the CARES Act facilities in connection with their year-end termination.”

And he added:

“As you noted in your letter, non-CARES Act funds remain in the Exchange Stabilization Fund and are, as always, available, to the extent permitted by law, to capitalize any Federal Reserve lending facilities that are needed to maintain financial stability and support the economy.”

But given how small the actual amounts were in these SPVs, and given the magnitude of its QE binge – $3 trillion in three months – it is clear that letting these essentially unused facilities expire as planned isn’t going to matter to the real economy, though it might matter a little to the speculators and investors who got rich off the jawboning, but they had it so good for so long and they shouldn’t complain.

But returning $455 billion to the Treasury and having Congress fashion new fiscal aid programs for Covid relief to small businesses and the unemployed would make a huge difference. Why do bondholders and speculators have to be coddled all the time to further increase the wealth disparity, instead of providing a modicum of fiscal relief to the unemployed and struggling small businesses? Powell didn’t even attempt to explain that.

Those SPVs should have never been concocted in the first place. They’re just another subversion of the credit markets designed to enrich asset holders.

The Fed should have never been allowed to buy corporate bonds and corporate bond ETFs, which trade on the stock market. But it did so anyway for the first time ever. Back during the Financial Crisis, it should have never been allowed to buy mortgage-backed securities, but it did for the first time ever, and now it’s standard policy – and a $2-trillion line-item on the Fed’s balance sheet.

What these asset purchases accomplished was to increase the horrendous wealth disparity – the “wealth effect,” as Bernanke, when he was still Fed chair, rationalized it, and a term Yellen touted when she was president of the San Francisco Fed. But blame for this horrendous wealth disparity via the Fed’s asset purchases lies with Congress which has authority over the Fed.

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  156 comments for “The Mnuchin-Powell Affair over the Fed’s “Special Purpose Vehicles” in Dollars & Effects

  1. Joe Saba says:

    I really hope there is enough time to RESET SOME OF THIS RUN AWAY fed induced debt
    guaranteed to explode in 2021(unless senate can slow it down)
    we really need to clean out all these BAD INVESTMENTS that banksters/fed/states/govt are all doing the PRETEND AND EXTEND
    while people/voters continue to get screwed blued and tattooed
    I advocate raising interest rates to 5% over night
    time to end this charade

    • Carl Wilson says:

      “time to end this charade”
      I strongly suspect that ending the charade will have system-wide consequences that will not be limited to those directly playing the game. The timing and manner of the ending could make a big difference.

      • Cas127 says:

        Of course, that has been the rationale for keeping the Fed ZIRP lifeline/heroin drip hooked up for two decades…the economy “can’t survive” without it.

        But heroin doesn’t heal…it just deepens addiction (ZIRP=engorged debt because…why the f not?)

        That said, disciplined tapering is the way to go.

        There will be dislocation and mkt declines (see Fall 2018) but they will be worse in the future if no tapering is attempted (see 2003,2009,2018…).

        ZIRP has simply been papering over the diseased sectors of the American economy for two decades, letting the infections fester.

        • Carl Wilson says:

          “disciplined tapering is the way to go”
          It would be good if (1) that it would work and (2) “they” would do it.
          I am doubtful on both 1 & 2. I could give my reasons for those doubts. They would not be different from what others have said.

      • Implicit says:

        If the same investors front run this news with leveraged selling, there could be problems.

        • Doug Noland this week spoke about “scorched earth” policy, and removing the Fed from the markets would certainly set up the possiblity. Leveraged bear ETFs add to the problem. Have thought for some time a cabal of investment banks could bust the market to zero, hedging their positions, it would be net net for them. What we saw in the oil futures market a few months may be prelude. This is where Yellen and the Fed holding stocks on their balance sheet could be considered necessary, but the outcome would be global depression, and no president wants that on their legacy.

    • Alberta says:

      Raising taxes on unemployed people and bankrupt businesses won’t get you a thin dime.

    • rankinfile says:

      You will never see 5% in your lifetime again.

      • Cas127 says:

        Sure we will…in some foreign currency not crippled with a debt-to-GDP in excess of 100%.

        Americans have been doomed by their gvt to learn the meaning of capital flight and the miseries of having to borrow in foreign currencies.

      • fajensen says:

        Sure we will. Bond issuers needs to clear their short positions at some point and they are in fact “The Market”, not all those saps who bought their bonds at -2% yields.

        It will be a Fantastic “Market Event”, but, it will still happen!

    • Old School says:

      Read an interesting article about how the smart money can find a strategy that works each decade. For example last 10 years it was to play the borrow cheap buy stock trade. Next 10 will be something else as that trade probably has played out. Dumb money tends to be late to the party and suffer.

    • SuzeB says:

      “I advocate raising interest rates to 5% over night, time to end this charade”.

      I’ll second that emotion!

    • M says:

      Dear Joe Saba,

      I truly agree with your sentiments, but I am afraid that your proposal is already impossible economically and would lead to national disaster. It would end the “charade?” That is true but only like a gunshot to the head would “end” any individual’s problems.

      We are now like the passengers in the Titanic, after it hit the iceberg, arguing over whether the deck chairs need to be replaced. While I also advocated the same before, I now realize that any such sudden rise in interest rates (unless it could somehow be limited to only the non-aristocrats/government) would crash the federal government because the percentage that the interest payments plus entitlements already consume so much of the federal budget and would then be increased so much that we would have little available in the federal budget to spend on defense or any other needs: see Forbes’ excellent piece, “Entitlements Threaten The Entire Federal Budget.”

      Having an open mind and not just dismissing but considering all reasoned opinions is important, because any might have the truth. See Mercatus.org’s “Mandatory Spending Consumes 77% of Budget by FY 2023.” See National Interest.org’s “By 2025, U.S. Interest Payments on the National Debt Will Pass the Defense Budget.”

      Even worse, too many persons are ignoring another looming problem. Like the deniers of this pandemic, which I warned about, I fear that we are slowly heading toward another, much bigger disaster than this pandemic, just like those passengers in the Titanic but before their ship hit the iceberg. Read Marmar’s comments about that.

  2. Kurtismayfield says:

    Why do bondholders and speculators have to be coddled all the time to further increase the wealth disparity, instead of providing a modicum of fiscal relief to the unemployed and struggling small businesses?

    Who owns the government? (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not small business and employees).

    • Jon W says:

      It’s because the latter requires fiscal policy, but governments are either too incompetent or ideologically opposed to doing that, so they push the issue on to the central bank.

      But central banks can’t create an industry policy. They can only spray more or less cheap credit everywhere, and that is what you’re seeing them do.

      At a fundamental level it’s just a lack of leadership.

      • Ozz says:

        I disagree. The current policy is nothing more than the fruit of investments by companies and some wealthy individuals in politicians. After all people tend to do what they are paid for….

        • Winston says:

          Exactly.

          “There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws… Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body.”

  3. Wolf Richter concluded:
    > The blame for increasing the horrendous wealth disparity
    > via the Fed’s asset purchases lies with Congress
    > which has authority over the Fed.

    Congress is asleep at the wheel,
    Exxon Valdez style.

    2006, people were getting rich selling subprime loans,
    making used-car salesman look horribly honest.

    Today, 13-year-olds are getting rich trading
    assets of any-n-every type.

    What a nightmare, wake me up when it’s over.

    • Blockhead says:

      Jeff, you’re in for the long sleep: it’ll never be over.

      • twinkytwonk says:

        After 20 years thinking that various governments will eventually do the right thing i have finally come to the conclusion that this shit storm can never stop.

        If it stops, everything collapses, so the only way forward is to carry on and hope for the best.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          OK tt,,, good/great start!
          After getting out of all my positions in the Stock Markets, ( SM ) in the early 1980s because I came to realize what a ”suckers game” it was for retail investors such as myself,,, I have been watching, and, as you say, hoping that guv mint would step in and make the various and sundry and at that point easy ”adjustments” to make the SM more ”transparent”, fair for us retail and investors, etc., etc.
          Obviously did not happen then or since, and I am still not in SMs of any kind.
          At this point, I really and truly wish the whole world wide ”shebang” would do it’s wonderful and obviously needed cleansing once again, so that my various and sundry investments outside the SM would be safe and sound respositorys for my fortunes to go to my beloveds.
          Until that happens, I guess I will have to continue to do my best to stay on board to stoopervise, in spite of/albeit I am ready to go…

        • polecat says:

          The plates will thusly, drop and shatter. Then events may lead to investment in boiled hemp …

  4. Martha Careful says:

    It is what it is:

    The Federal Reserve’s Response to COVID-19:
    Policy Issues
    June 12, 2020

    Use of Special Purpose Vehicles
    If losses do not materialize, CARES Act funds could be
    redeployed, as occurred with Fed facilities after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.32

    32 If Treasury wished to redeploy CARES Act funding, the act only allows Treasury to enter into new contracts until
    the end of 2020

  5. Dano says:

    The money is so concentrated in the boomer generation, especially in retirement plans & 401k’s that the Fed and Gov are deathly afraid a downdraft in stocks snd bonds would lead to a massive spending retrenchment.

    They created this monster beginning with the Greenspan Put, snd have consistently doubled down every time the wind came out of that sail.

    Meanwhile the monied elite choose their POTUS via donations or lobbyists based upon what will make them richer, and via media ‘signaling’ (as 90+% of media is only 6 companies) propagandize the voters.

    Over the time since the rise of the Clintons, the representation of the parties has now flipped. The red party is more supportive of middle American & the blue the coastal elites. Yet both still bow to the whims of the big money donors.

    I don’t know how we fix this without crashing the system in a game where big money makes the rules. Eventually I believe the $USD itself will crash the system, though that’s a long way off.

    Will the people ever wake up that they’ve been sliced and diced into marginalization and that their wishes, hopes and projections are nothing in a moneyed kakistocracy?

    I hope I’m long dead when they do as it won’t be pretty.

    • 2banana says:

      It used to be that older Americans put their dollars into saving accounts, money markets and CDs.

      Think of all massive spending destroyed with 0.0001% interest rates.

      “The money is so concentrated in the boomer generation, especially in retirement plans & 401k’s that the Fed and Gov are deathly afraid a downdraft in stocks snd bonds would lead to a massive spending retrenchment.”

      • Cas127 says:

        “Think of all massive spending destroyed with 0.0001% interest rates.”

        Not destroyed.

        Unconstitutionally transferred to the DC G.

        How do you think multi decade wars get paid for?

        Or doomed entitlement systems barely propped up.

        Or every conceivable donor paid off (in exchg for a skim)

      • Heinz says:

        Quite right. This form of financial repression, that is, having savings interest earning less than inflation rate, is simply a form of stealth government taxation to favor a debt regimen.

        Yet the ‘average IQ’ idiot can’t spark enough neurons together to understand its ramifications.

        Did someone say the NFL is on TV now? And where is that pizza we ordered?

        • Lou Mannheim says:

          It’s a bit more than intelligence, risk preference is also involved.

        • Steve says:

          The government has confiscated interest payments through the banks and bond markets, in clear violation of the Constitution. Their rationalizations don’t excuse the violation. Tax credits should be issued for compensation!

        • Happy1 says:

          +1

          I wish there were some way out of it but it is so entrenched it feels like the wheels will have to come off of the US dollar before this can change

      • Rcohn says:

        Suppose that a boomer had saved 1m$ And expected to earn 5% or $ 50000/ year. With current interest rates on the 10 year at .87% , that 1$m in savings would generate only $8700/ year. So what is the boomer going to do to make up for the difference? Draw down from the principle and spend less. This creates a vicious cycle as the principle diminishes. After 5 years the 1$m is going to be around $790000. But then with inflation at a conservative %2 annually , prices are % 10 higher , so his principle is worth even less.
        Of all age groups , boomers have the highest % of gun ownership. So it is inevitable that a small % of boomers boomers , who previously felt financially secure will decide to hell with and take it out on those whom they considers to have caused this problem. The government has /is / will create conditions that will guarantee chaos in the not too distant future.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          “So it is inevitable..,”

          I agree, but very surprised that hasn’t happened…yet.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Yeah, that’s where some of us are right now (me and my friends being some of them). We don’t like it and at our ages (over 70), can’t gamble that much in the Market. It would not surprise me if that kind of chaos will happen in the future.

        • Cj says:

          Come on. Use some common sense. Btc and tsla will save the day! Whohoo

        • Old School says:

          Yep. I am going to say it again that there is at least one large city pension that will promise you a 7% fixed return on additional contributions clearly a non market rate while they cry to the Feds for a bailout. There are so many winners and losers in the political system it makes your head spin.

        • SuzeB says:

          “So it is inevitable…”

          What about the boomers who saved diligently who will run out of money in retirement under current interest rates unless they put their savings at risk in the stock market?

          Those gun-owning and non-gun owning boomers/retirees who choose to not take it out on others? When desperation hits, there will be a massive spike in the already spiking suicide rate.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @SuzeB – the scary part is when some decide to take a few other folks out before they do themselves in.

        • w.c.l. says:

          It’s not just that we savers can’t get any decent and safe rates of return, it’s how many pension systems both public and privet are technically underfunded because they live on the assumption of a 7% annual return which is going to disappear in the inevitable market correction to come. Plus, how many company 401K plans have vaporized their 401K match, likely never to return? Time to get another can of pain-killer out if the fridge.

    • Carl Wilson says:

      ” believe the $USD itself will crash the system, though that’s a long way off.”
      I believe that the Fed sees all this and that they hope to have a full-scale digital dollar system ready to go as a reboot. And I think the crash may come a lot sooner than expected.

  6. BuySome says:

    Mr. & Mrs. Parker need to quit fighting over those “major award” distractions and learn when & how to keep a door shut and locked. We’ll all be singing Jingle Bells in a Chinese Restaurant now that the Bumpuses hounds have shredded the turkey. No wonder e-sales are rising on Festivus Poles.

  7. Kevin says:

    “Why do bondholders and leveraged speculators have to be enriched, instead of providing fiscal relief to the unemployed and small businesses?”

    Because if this amount of money were given away to the general public there would be massive consumer price inflation.

    • Stuart says:

      Wrong. It happens because the Working Class does not control the means of production and are reduced to wage slavery. In other words, smash Capitalism.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Exactly. But first you must put a select few of us in control of production to enable the transition.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Right diagnosis, wrong remedy.

        It happens because most workers of every stripe are being obsoleted by technology, and the fruits of automation are concentrated in the hands of the well-capitalized few.

        Either you learn how to use tech to your own benefit, or you get rolled over by it.

        Individuals need to invest in and learn to use technology while we still can. Capitalism works fine if you learn how to use it.

        And remember, you don’t have to buy from the dominant capitalist that is busy squashing you down. You could elect to buy from yourself or from others who share your plight, and are busily rowing out of harm’s way.

        LHooker: first, I can’t believe how naive n stoopid I was. Thought you were a woman, till Wolf spilled the beans. I’m mortally chagrined.

        Beyond that, I’d say you’d be a good one to get put in control of some productive cpy.

        I see the re-establishment (not redistribution!) of productive cpy in the hands of the ready (few tho they may be) at the more-local scale as the bestest option in a series of poor or very hard to do options.

    • EdwardTeach says:

      That’s why there fixing to start giving the working class money. They want high inflation to inflate away this debt mess. That $1200 pacifier was just the beginning. Which just went to the elite anyway. Where did you spend yours? Who’s mouth got your pacifier? They will start giving money away but it will be lost in inflation. Hyperinflation is coming. The end game is to destroy the fiat currency system to replace it with a more totalitarian digital currency. Then they have total control. Taxes, bills pulled right out of your Fed account. Every transaction you make will be controlled. The system is already in place. This fake pandemic drove the final nail in the coffin for small businesses. The dollar will die before it’s 50th birthday which is August 15th, 2021.

  8. Rick says:

    Due to this ‘five billionth web search’ scam ad, I’m unbookmarking your site. I get this garbage every time, and not on any other site. You need to do something besides disclaiming responsibility.

    • Chasebank says:

      Install adblock and donate if you have an ethical problem with it.

    • Cas127 says:

      Rick,

      It might be you (internet ads can follow you) because I have literally never seen the ad you refer to.

    • Jon says:

      It’s definitely just you

    • El Katz says:

      @Rick: Clear your cache and browsing history. The ad is just following you.

      • nick kelly says:

        I had a chuckle the other day when WS had an ad for the stock trading system of a Dennis somebody who has turned 15K into 10 million. And he’s only 30!

        Not selected by WR of course, but another indication that the stock market mania is peaking.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Rick,

      Yes, delete the entire history (cache) in your browser (every part of it). That usually fixes those issues. If you don’t know how to do that, google it.

      This is a common piece of malware floating around the internet. It’s on your device and gets triggered when you go to specific sites, which is when it pops up. If you still get it after you delete the browsing history, it’s not in your browser but elsewhere on your device. Then you need to use your antivirus/anti-malware software to scan your device and remove it.

      • California Bob says:

        Wolfstreet Tech Support!

        ‘If this doesn’t work try rebooting.’

        ‘If rebooting doesn’t work turn the power ON/OFF.’

        ‘If power cycling doesn’t work, I’ll escalate this.’

      • endeavor says:

        I have 2 browsers installed and use one without ad blockage for Wolf Street and a couple others.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          AdNauseam not only blocks ads, it obfuscates browsing data to resist tracking by the online ad industry. To throw ad networks off your trail AdNauseam “clicks” blocked and hidden ads, polluting your data profile and injecting noise into the economic system that drives online surveillance. The interactive AdVault allows you to visualize and explore the ads that AdNauseam has captured.

      • polecat says:

        “Google it” …

        Wolf …. the very same monopolistic monster, that hoovers up Any and All browser search n history .. stored in the Big Elite Cloud, for use in the futhering of social bernaysian
        engineering/propaganda/miltel tyranny, combined to bring incessent ratcheted repression upon the lowly plebians … THAT Google??

        I almost cracked a rib, I laughed/cried so hard.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Google is a commonly used verb — like “to xerox a document” used to be — and I used it as such: “to google” (or “to Google”), meaning to go find something on the internet by using any search engine that you want.

      • fajensen says:

        If, anywhere, there is a reference to something called “Snap.do” only a full restore from a clean system image will reliably get rid of it!

        Be warned: If Googling this leads to a link to their site, clicking that link will install a javascript version of the filth in the browser cache that will persist in getting the full package installed!

    • EdwardTeach says:

      Change browsers. My browser says there’s 26 trackers on this site lol. The internet is nothing but a spy and Google spies with everything. I don’t know if your on a computer or phone. But I disable every Google app on my phone. Deny data access and permissions. Delete all data on there apps and even disable system apps. IPhone is a spy too. That’s technology wait till they bring out the digital dollar then they will have total control of your life, not just your phone, computer, tv, car, etc.
      “Progress might have been alright once, but it has gone on for too long”
      Ogden Nash

  9. Lou Mannheim says:

    1. Dual mandate
    2. Jack interest rates to kill inflation.
    3. Legal/regulatory changes to promote consolidation, offshoring jobs, financial engineering etc..
    4. Eliminate pensions, replace with 401(k)s.
    5. Print money whenever there’s a hiccup.

    This has worked as the inflation flows more to asset prices than consumer prices with all the labor arb and “scale economies” achieved over time. In fact it’s great for financial assets like equities as the slave labor/robot savings flow straight through to earnings. Also the plebs are now investment managers, so stocks must go up, even if the tail has to wag the dog occasionally.

    The internet was a godsend to Capital. You can apply to an existing industry, hollow out a ton of costs, and beat legacy competitors on price. Plus, first mover advantage for the e-commerce platform, the most invasive, granular and persistent advertising platform ever, and it appears governments are cool with oligarchs and monopoly power for now.

    I don’t think anyone wants to change such a sweet deal.

    • Alberta says:

      Keep your paws off my pension — it’s a legally binding contract that I paid into as a
      Special District, at will, worker. Could be fired at anytime.

      • Cas127 says:

        What percentage of defined benefit pension contributions came from you…vs the taxpayer (“Special District”)?

        Many gvt DB pensions are something like 20% employee/80% taxpayer.

        And now you want to be forever held harmless from any pension shortfalls with an unlimited taxpayer guarantee, regardless of the terms of your pension relative to the working life salaries of the taxpayers you insist act as your invt guarantor?

        Public sector workers may have “negotiated” this deal with gvt workers who they suborned, but the public isn’t going to swallow that deal, once it bleeds them deeply enough.

        (As has been warned about for 25+ years).

        • rankinfile says:

          Social Security for all

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          Cas

          Oh look !

          Another one with government worker pension envy !

          So if government worker pensions are such a sweet sweet deal, why didn’t you become a government worker and get that pension too ?

          You really should take personal responsibility for your poor choices.

        • TXRancher says:

          OTB –
          I didn’t see any envy in his statements only facts.

        • Paulo says:

          Where I live they are 50-50 for public pensions. Even my son, who definitely works for a free enterprise company, (oil patch maint) gets a 50-50 match, with the company paying in a $7.00per hour pension contribution as a portion of his wages, then also matches employee contributions into an RRSP (think 401) at years end.

          And yes, they are a profitable company.

          And what is son doing with his money? Buying a 2nd house because it is a hard asset as opposed to paper investments. He withdrew the max allowable out of his RRSP to do so.

          There is simply too much demonozing of pensions and Govt workers, imho. People are doing the best they can, and I have yet to see a govt worker, (excluding politicians) who are rolling in dough.

        • nick kelly says:

          There is no viable comparison between private and public sector pensions in Canada. So X works for a decent co? How many that weren’t in trouble 2 years ago are in trouble now or will be in 2 years? The oil patch? The super majors like Exxon are cutting salaried positions. As for Alberta’s oil sands…no one knows. But it would never have been built at these oil prices.

          I’ve had the opportunity to put the pay stubs of private and public employed family members side by side and years later, compare their pensions. The DOT employee’s pay stub reported hours worked and an hourly rate as though he was an hourly contract construction worker, who would be subject to lay off as the project tapered off ( like another relative, an electrician)

          He was not an hourly worker, he had an annual salary and not only was NEVER laid off, there was never any possibility of being laid off. But unlike most private sector salaried employees, who take time off in lieu of extra work, he also got overtime, as high as 2.5 times on holidays.

          Now on pension at age 60, he gets close to his base pay, but he sure misses that OT!

          Another employee ( my ex and still a bestie) was a unionized employee at a newspaper in the Canwest chain which went bust. New owners were allowed to reset the pension clock. She had 12 yrs in old pension, and
          zero in new one. The US- based union dues reflected the fact that a union is a business. She would have done much better to have put the dues in stocks.

          How is it possible to ignore the endless stories of private sector pension grief: the recent big one: Sears.
          Never happens in Fed or BC public sector.

    • historicus says:

      Lou….
      Regarding your “dual mandate” comment.
      There are THREE mandates in the mission statement, and the third never mentioned one is the source of all our problems due to it constantly being ignored by the Fed.
      “promote MODERATE long term interest rates”…
      Moderate means “not extreme”. This ensures a balance between lender and borrower, and prevents massive cheap irresponsible debt creation that cripples future generations. Record low, 4000 year lows in long rates are extreme and thus not moderate. The Fed must be held to this mandate, and because everyone speaks of the “dual ” mandate, it is in each instance ignored.

      • Lou Mannheim says:

        Agreed, but I’ll refer to my final sentence 😀.

        What is interesting to me is that Powell said we have to get used to low rates but more inflation. In other words, real rates are going more negative. Why? What purpose would that serve?

    • polecat says:

      “anyone” is doing quite a workup in that statement!

      disclosure: I’m a nobody …..

  10. Bobber says:

    The Fed still operates under a deception that low interest rates are good for the lower classes. It allows them to purchase assets, like housing, they otherwise could not afford.

    Sure, today’s low rates may help some people buy houses today, but what happens a few years down the road when people want to by houses? They’ll see housing prices that are 30-50% higher because of today’s artificially low rates, and they’ll be priced out.

    The Federal Reserve is simply kicking the can down the road, creating new problems for tomorrow. It’s currently acting as an irresponsible organization, arbitrarily transferring wealth and opportunities, creating moral hazards, and attacking the long-term health of our economy, simply to avoid a short-term recession and cleansing reset of financial asset prices.

    • 2banana says:

      Housing is much cheaper under high interest rates.

      In fact, I can point to you newspaper articles talking/describing how buying is cheaper than renting. From 30 years ago.

      Oh, you are talking about the “howmuchamonth” silliness.

      “The Fed still operates under a deception that low interest rates are good for the lower classes. It allows them to purchase assets, like housing, they otherwise could not afford.”

    • Many good points, Bobber. You win a free Thanksgiving turkey. You will find plenty of these fowl running wild and carefree in Washington, D.C.

    • Nasty Edwin says:

      The can keeps getting kicked because the unwind, at this point, will be too painful to accept

    • Heinz says:

      The Fed is a proverbial ‘loose cannon’ (a reference to old sailing warships where a gun deck cannon gets untethered and rolls wildly like heavy dead-weight on ship’s deck in pitching seas).

      Fed’s original purpose was to be used like a weapon to help fight economic instability but they cut it loose to indulge in risky policies and it is now it is just a destructive dead-weight to economy.

      • BuySome says:

        Well frigate all boys, and lower the boats. We’ve harpooned a whale named Treasury and are prepared for a Nantucket Sleighride. There’ll be rum and hard tack aplenty when we haul in this blubbery beast. Got peg leg?

        • WSKJ says:

          Thx, BuySome

          Made me wonder if I should listen again to MobyDick….or re-read some Jack Aubrey adventures…

          but, no, wait, the temper of the times calls for Dickens’s Pickwick Papers- and yes only this morning I heard again (audiobook) the story of Sammy Weller and old Mr. Weller discussing the best way to employ the inheritance from Mrs. Weller: put it into “paper” at 4 1/2 %. Invaluable datum point, I consider it: things used to be different.

          I think I must say again: thx, BuySome-
          and as usual, thx to Wolf

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      If low rates are good for the people why aren’t bank credit card rates at 3-5%? Seems like there is work to do for the FRB here. /sarc

  11. Brant Lee says:

    At least it sounds patriotic in returning the$455B back to Congress, but it’s jawboning. It has no bearing on what Congress will or will not spend. And what they spend has nothing to do with a budget. Since when was anyone in the government worried about “Taxpayer Money”? In any case, what Mnuchin and Powel are really saying is: “Mission Accomplished, The dirty rich are covered. “

    • 2banana says:

      When was the last time a congress person was voted out for spending too much?

      Or elected running on cutting spending?

      So look in the mirror.

  12. Crush the Peasants! says:

    The unemployed and small business owners have not securitized

  13. The revolving door policy of allowing Fed Chairs and Board members to work for Wall Street right after they leave the Fed is an enormous Conflict of Interest. So who do you think their true constituency is? Not the people on the street. Goldman Sachs and Morgan have employed many of these bureaucrats after their slanted tenures at the Fed.

    Plus, these eggheads, being primarily inaccurate forecast academics, still believe that the Wealth Effect is the means of Trickling Down economic benefits to Main Street solely by artificially and manipulatively goosing Wall Street asset prices. What percentage of Americans actually own stocks and bonds that they can sell today to generate cash to counter loss of income elsewhere??? The top 10% by far.

    The cow has already left the barn for the U.S. economy in 2020 and 2021. Will Covid-19 Lockdown #2 well underway, Congress would have to give every two-legged American $25,000 to keep this Ponzi scheme afloat throughout the coming 13 months.

    OR WE JUST BECOME A COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST COUNTRY AND NATIONALIZE EVERYTHING, PAYING EVERYONE FROM THE STATE PRINTING PRESS. What could be simpler??!!$$

  14. EEngineer says:

    Lot of talk lately about the Great Reset/Green New Deal. I have this feeling that we’ve been living it for the last dozen years. QE was the introduction of MMT for the connected set. Rather than funding government it got fed to the insiders through CB purchase of favored assets. The FAANG stocks plus Uber, Zoom, Microsoft, Tesla, crypto, etc all boomed. Of course, if your stocks, bonds, and ETFs all have the WEF put behind them it’s impossible for them not to.

    Using this set of assumptions it sort of looks like Mnuchin and Powell are two Shakespearean actors on the stage trying to trigger the inevitable avalanche correction now before the next presidential term begins, regardless on the victor. I even wonder if they know, or even care, who that will be.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Robin Hood 2020.

      Robin Hood: Mnuchin
      Powell : Sheriff of Nottingham.

      Together they conspire to bankrupt everyone else.

  15. Pacifica says:

    Welcome to the K shape recovery and you are in the lower part of that K..

    • Dano says:

      K for kakistocracy, which enabled this.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Well, in my eyes, I see this gov as a Kleptocracy.

        • polecat says:

          Would you settle for a Kleptkakatocracy .. ??

          Because Crapification abounds throughout the Realm now, courtesy of those who have CONtracted the drippy, urine-soaked *Klept!

          *…whereby the lowlymokes are ensured of receiving all the drizzle!

    • BuySome says:

      I’m betting on the MGM-shaped recovery. They hand over the the deed to the skeletal remains and pronounce “and May God have Mercy on your soul”. Ars Gratis Artia = profitability don’t matter.

      • Cas127 says:

        “MGM-shaped recovery”

        Thought that meant “fed to the lion”

        • BuySome says:

          Be patient, this one’s an “E” ride. They spray water in your face before Leo opens his jaws. Don’t push up on the safety bar. Restraints are there to protect you.

  16. TC says:

    There is a fundamental flaw in our economic system that compounds accumulation in the finance sector whilst starving the real production economy of much needed capital. Those playing the game recognize this and won’t let go of such a sweet deal. Those not in the game, just stand by and accept the situation as the natural logic of capitalism – and call out any suggestion for change as “socialism”. CBDC from the Fed may address some of the obvious disparities, but system needs another catastrophic event to shift this “unnatural “ logic.

  17. WES says:

    It is just not true that congress doesn’t care about small businesses.

    They are worried that their money laundry mats might run out of money!

  18. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Trickle down economics. If you give a big business one dollar, half a cent will reach the masses ….

    Better than zero right?

    • Memento mori says:

      “Trickle-down theory – the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” John Kenneth Galbraith

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Trickle Down Theory: When you’re standing in line with an overactive bladder and can’t hold it some will end up in your sock. FRB policy.

  19. David Hall says:

    They halted Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes after bailing out hotel operators with less than 500 employees. A hotel was set up as a separate business entity/LLC.

    Social Security may go broke sooner. Did the gap between the rich and poor widen again?

  20. Rcohn says:

    I consider myself a fiscal conservative and am normally against giving money to anyone.But many people and businesses are hurting ONLY because of government edicts . These people and business should be given money. But NO MONEY for large corporations and NO MONEY for WALL St. and NO MONEY to support the fiscally irresponsible unfounded pension funds of states and local governments and NO more money to bomb other countries just because they don’t agree with out policies.
    I was ashamed to be an American during the Vietnam era and am even more ashamed now. We have devolved to a combination of pre revolutionary France and ore revolutionary Russia.

    • lenert says:

      People are hurting, dying even, because Republican politicians encouraged their constituents to spread a viral contagion that is now burning out of control nationwide.

      But not to worry, at the current rate of daily infection everyone in the US will have it within 5 years.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        lenert

        Agree with your conclusion.

        But…..

        Calculating via geometric progression….

        Complete infection of all U.S. citizens….

        Less than two years.

  21. MonkeyBusiness says:

    I just read the following in an article accusing Mnuchin and folks of trying to harm the “recovery”:

    “The Fed is concerned that more QE will chiefly inflate asset prices without doing much to help the real economy, exacerbating social inequality. The central bank’s moral doctrine under Mr Powell – a ‘one-nation’ patrician conservative of the old school – is akin to a monetary Hippocratic Oath, that it should not undertake any measures that further damage the social fabric or that leave poor people behind.”

    ROFL. We really live a crazy world. Team Powell are the good guys while Team Mnuchin are the bad guys!!! With media like ours, we don’t need the Russians nor the Chinese. We’ll do a fine job destroying ourselves.

  22. two beers says:

    Q: Why do bondholders and leveraged speculators have to be enriched, instead of providing fiscal relief to the unemployed and small businesses?

    A: Because the United States is a corporate oligarchy.

    Bonus commentary: And it doesn’t matter who’s president, because both major parties are in on the racket, you fools.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Impossible. We live in a democracy, and Santa Claus is real. Team Dem is better than Team Rep or is it vice versa and the USA is absolutely the greatest country on earth.

    • Winston says:

      “A: Because the United States is a corporate oligarchy.”

      Correct.

      Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens [Princeton University, 2014]

      Excerpts:

      A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

      Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

      In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.

      When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

      To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; they fairly often get the policies they favor, but only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically-elite citizens who wield the actual influence.

  23. DR DOOM says:

    How lovely the Independent Fed Head and T-Man are swapping love letters. This is just more superfluous evidence to get rid of the Fed. It has violated its charter and worse has become omnipotent. The Republic is dead if Congress out sources its constitutional responsibilities that is its duty to the Republic . Worse,Congress falsely claims the Fed was created to allow it to avoid what it actually covets most. Political Pressure.

    • Anthony A. says:

      Do you have any ideas on who (or what means) is going to step forward and “get rid” of the FED?

      • DR DOOM says:

        Anthony A. The Fed is not a constitutional construct. The Fed was created by a simple act of congress and its demise is a simple act of congress. The Who is the people who vote for Congress. We The People apparently like de-basement of our currency and the transferring of wealth to the connected.

        • Lawefa says:

          Time for Congress to spine up and clean out the old hen house. The Fed has been laying rotten goose eggs long enough.

  24. timbers says:

    Seems to me if Powell and Mnuchan really are honest about helping people and the economy they can better spend their time discussing how to finalize the defacto student loan Debt Judilee we’ve arrived at. But of course Wolf is allergic to debt jubilee and is in denial of if it’s inevitablility.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Bankruptcy works well for debts that cannot be repaid. That system is in place. The judge imposes payments by court order in a magnitude that the debtor can handle. No jubilee needed. Just allow student loans to become dischargeable in bankruptcy court.

      A person graduating with the median student loan debt of $17,500 needs neither a jubilee nor a bankruptcy filing. Jubilees are the unfairest giveaway on earth. The most privileged people with the most degrees from the most expensive schools, owing $100k+, benefit the most from a jubilee. To heck with them. I’m worried about the people that didn’t have enough money to go to college in the first place. Why should THEY pay for the jubilee for privileged students?

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Because taxpayers are already paying for all the other privileges of the privileged. It’s a tradition in America.

      • Sunny129 says:

        +100%

        It will be of great disservice to those who behaved prudently in managing their personal and family’s finances and a slap on their face!

        I know many families who tightened their belt, to pay their son’s or grand daughter’s loans. Did with used cars, no vacation or no fancy birth day or X mas gifts.

      • Lawefa says:

        Oh stop it Wolf. You’ve started to talk too sensibly here. Lol.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      Low financial IQ detected. After the student debt jubilee, then what? Just general debt jubilee? You just don’t get it, a lot of our rich people are rich because they have a ton of debt. Forgiving their debts (and yes it will be inevitable once you open one gate) will make our insane wealth disparity permanent.

      It’s called moral hazard.

  25. Tony in Aus says:

    I would feel really uncomfortable if I were a recent purchaser or current holder of bonds.

    This all smacks of a bail out of banks and other credit issuers before it all hits the fan. I hope whoever is holding bonds currently better have a plan B.

    • Old School says:

      If I was forced to choose I would rather hold a 5 year treasury than the sp500 for 5 years. You just don’t know where the sp500 is going to be in five years. Might be 1000 or might be 6000. With treasury you just have inflation risk.

      • Tony in Aus says:

        Sorry I should have specified corporate bonds. I would hate to be holding corporate bonds right now (especially of cruise liners)

        • The Rage says:

          It will get worse over the next 5 years in terms of debt.

        • I would hold corporates before I held Treasuries. If yields rise bondG ratings rise, if yields fall investors chase the spread. USG has no revenue, they have to print the money to pay the interest on their bonds which is nothing, and inflation eats that up and I mean asset inflation. Sell you house today, put it in a ten year bond and take out the money when it matures and go buy another house.

        • M says:

          As a lawyer who also obtained a business degree, I must point out one key reason why you are so very right. I would not trust corporate financial statements alone anymore.

          Enron was just the most public example. However, there has been so much monkeying around with financial statements that unless a particular company clear has dynamite products and a loving customer base, the great bonds that you just purchased might turn out to have been issued by an over-leveraged company that will become legally insolvent (by not being able to pay current liabilities with current assets) before the vaccines are distributed.

          You just cannot trust corporate bonds anymore, except if other information can confirm a company’s success. That is why I purchased a certain computer chip maker and a certain online seller. As a nerd with business and legal expertise, I know their products, finances, businesses, sales, prospects, and thereby have gotten investment price gains like a bandit/bankster this year. :-)

        • M says:

          One more thing, with treasuries, the value of your money is also being stolen by the banksters’ “Federal” Reserve cartel, which loves to create inflation that “coincidentally” reduces the real dollar value of the bank’s liabilities: its customers’ deposits, etc. However, the same is occurring with corporate bonds unless they were CPI adjusted somehow.

          Moreover, I predict that the “Federal” Reserve banksters will be engaging in “slow-stealing” in the coming years or decades: they will be definitely funneling US taxpayers’ wealth to their banksters each year and bailing them out from their gambling debts like the rich parents of a drug-addicted, compulsive gambler. However, they cannot just refuse to pay the treasuries and they cannot steal the full value of all US treasuries too suddenly.

          At least, that is something. Sigh. We sure could use many guillotines right now. Lots and lots and lots of guillotines could rapidly solve our nations’ bankster-financier problems.

        • Cas127 says:

          AB,

          “I would put the money in corporates before Treasuries.”

          No way.

          The G will destroy every corporation in this country (and the private savings of every citizen) if “necessary” to save itself.

          Best proof…it already has a long track record of doing things harmful to companies and individuals in order to avoid reforming itself.

          At least 20 yrs worth.

          It is just that the G frequently acts in the shadows and sets up straw villains when doing so.

  26. The Rage says:

    The Fed is overestimated due to the financial crisis. Major blunder by them. This isn’t 2008. The primary dealers aren’t in trouble. The belief that corporate deleveraging was coming in 2020 and a subprime consumer bust as growth stalls simply isn’t the same thing. The pandemic made it easier to refinance debt and saved subprime banks…..for now. More than likely the us has a crack up boom and inflationary surge as a result.

  27. historicus says:

    Wolf, and explanation if you will

    “that he wants the Fed to return the $455 billion in taxpayer money the Treasury had sent to the Fed”

    And then you mention $3 Trillion in QE. So the money initially flowed how?
    The Fed giving money “back” to the Treasury seems just a reversal of a previous transaction? Didnt the money to be returned initially come from the Fed and QE operations? Fed to Treasury (via QE) then back to Fed (for SPVs) then back to Treasury?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      historicus,

      That $455 billion is money from the Treasury (taxpayer money) that it lent to the Fed. It was intended as the equity portion of the SPVs and was not part of QE. It was intended to absorb the losses of the SPVs so that the Fed wouldn’t have to take the losses. The Fed itself LENDS to the SPVs, and that amount it lends to the SPVs goes into its QE. But those SPVs never really got going, and the Fed’s loans to those five SPVs were never needed.

      The money the Treasury gave the Fed is money that the Fed owes the Treasury and the Fed is expected to pay back this money (minus any losses) when the SPVs expire and are dissolved. And this was scheduled to happen after December 31, and Mnuchin refused to extend the deadline.

      • historicus says:

        Thanks for the reply.
        Remarkable that the funds are segregated.
        The Treasury sells debt, the Fed buys that debt. The Treasury then has exchanged, in essence, that debt for new money from the Fed.
        But then the Fed borrows from the Treasury in this SPV arrangement? One could imagine that the Fed is borrowing back the money they provided to the Treasury. A cul du sac of accounting antics, a shoveling of smoke.

    • Magician and magicians assistant. He saws the girl in half then puts her back together.

  28. Ishkabibble says:

    “Why do bondholders and leveraged speculators have to be enriched, instead of providing fiscal relief to the unemployed and small businesses? That’s the question.”

    The REAL answer is very simple and obvious. Bondholders and leveraged speculators own/control the US government, including all of its departments. Any other answer is bullshit.

  29. Don says:

    Wolf, what you so aptly describe in all its structural functional glory is classic fascism, but with a happy face wearing ten grand Christian Dior Air Jordans made in Italy while the peasant model is made in China by child labor with slave labor inputs, allegedly with net zero see oh two for the street people living and dumping in the Tenderloin while high on angel dust or magic mushrooms peddled by assorted gangs like the Hells Angels and Mexican drug cartels with a French connection from the Golden Triangle; but at least Marc Rich got his Clinton pardon while enjoying Swiss immunity.

    • Kasadour says:

      I saw someone wearing a Supreme designer brand mask the other day. I priced it- yeah, $216.00 a piece. I refrain from further comment.

      • polecat says:

        Was it gaussian-like, diaphanous in it’s seemingly magnetic attraction to the vacuous gliterati?

      • Cas127 says:

        K,

        I don’t even know what kind of mask you are talking about (Halloween, Eyes Wide Shut, or Beauty?)

        But it would funny as hell if Google Adsense populated Wolf’s next display ad with it.

  30. Martha Careful says:

    It’s all voodoo now and as it always has been. All this backdoor magic makes me vomit.

    THE AIG RESCUE, ITS IMPACT ON MARKETS, AND THE GOVERNMENT’S EXIT STRATEGY
    JUNE 10, 2010.—

    Even with the enactment of EESA and Treasury’s resulting ability to use TARP funds, Treasury continued to accede to a strong role for the Federal Reserve.

    As discussed above, the Federal Reserve supported AIG through collateralized loans whereas Treasury made investments and loans for which it received preferred stock (convertible to common in most cases). This means that here, as with the ‘‘ring-fenced’’ assets guarantee to Citigroup and other TARP assistance transactions in which Treasury and the Federal Reserve have acted jointly, the Federal Reserve is in the senior or more protected position in the event of losses on the government’s loans and investments in assisted institutions.

    Presumably use of this structure results from the combination of the Section 13(3) limitation on the Federal Reserve’s form of assistance, the more flexible options available to Treasury using the TARP, and—at least in this instance—the fact that the Federal Reserve acted first.

  31. WSKJ says:

    the street people are eating magic mushrooms ??

  32. Kasadour says:

    Why do bondholders and speculators have to be coddled all the time to further increase the wealth disparity, instead of providing a modicum of fiscal relief to the unemployed and struggling small businesses?

    Good question.

    @danpriceseattle tweeted the following relevant to this topic:

    Since the pandemic, Amazon profits are up 100%, Walmart’s is up 80%, Target profits up 80%, Lowe’s profits up 74%, MSFT, FB, AAPL, GOOG all at record highs.

    What about small businesses? So far 21% have shuttered permanently; of those still open revenue is down 30%. Combined, American small businesses have lost more $200 billion while CEOs of the aforementioned have profited by the multiples of billions.

    If one believes this is NOT by design (read: intentional) he or she must be under a severe delusion.

  33. M says:

    I can answer your question: “Why do bondholders and leveraged speculators have to be enriched, instead of providing fiscal relief to the unemployed and small businesses?”

    Answer: “Because they foolishly did not pool their pennies and save enough to purchase/bribe a majority of the politicians and judges whom the bondholders, banksters, and financiers wisely purchased/bribed first?” With political “contributions” (also known as “bribes” in less hypocritical societies) the early bird catches the worm — by which I mean “buys the crooked politician.”

    Did you hear the one about the plane that crashed at dawn one morning which was full of corporate politicians, bankers, and corporate-funded judges? What do you call that? A good, early start.

  34. Nikolas says:

    There is a huge gap between how well small businesses and big businesses cope with the effects of the pandemic and this is where the gap between the Fed actions and reality disconnects wildly. I don’t think this time we will face any kind of deleveraging post-effects, simply because the market is oversaturated with fresh dollars. One possible spillover can be an inflationary surge, as somebody previously mentioned, which will devaluate the US dollar currency base and will affect the macro-level purchasing power of everybody. Where on asset level we will see the exact inflationary crack is not clear but my bet is that in addition to precious metals like Gold and Silver we will see a surge in the price of all sort of digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and other as well. All sorts of assets which doesn’t have inflationary element built-in their structure will benefit a lot, and we already started to see this. Also, it will lead to more inequality in the global economic scale with few companies benefiting from the Fed affairs and everyone else on the sideline.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Everybody creates new cryptos, including bitcoin, all the time. There are thousands of these cryptos around, and people constantly “mine” (create) new units. If this stuff were money, it would be the definition of money printing and inflation. Thank god they’re just meaningless digital entities that people like to trade with each other in the hope of driving up the price and then getting out for fiat.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        It almost sounds as though “magic” numbers best serve terminally naive speculators. Reminds me of when my neighbor Jack threw his beans out the window and ended up with a singing harp and gold goose eggs.

  35. sunny129 says:

    AS I have written more than once that Mr. Powell is a hypocrit and intellectually dishonest. He is an atty and NOT an economist. He was picked for a reason. To make the rich, richer.

    As for ‘Wealth effect’ trickling down(?) per Mr. Barnake, now 0.1% have more wealth than the combined Wall St wealth of bottom 90%.

  36. Mad Dog says:

    All those asset purchases, bailouts and cheap money by the Fed haven’t helped the small businesses in downtown Washington DC. or the people that live off the flow of people to these businesses. Was down there today and Saturday. The place looks like it’s in the middle of a depression. Panhandlers are now risking their lives walking down the middle of the street to collect meager donations from motorists. I carry a billfold with $1 bills in my car to hand out to these dudes if necessary. All the food trucks are gone, most stores and resturants are closed. It looks like a ghost town and its getting worse every day.

  37. Mad Dog says:

    sunny129

    As I recently posted, Bernanke use to be a food server. He should go back to his old job as a waiter instead of writing books and screwing things up further. He’s already damaged the economy beyond repair.

  38. Thistlebreath says:

    I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned this story yet:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Million_Pound_Bank_Note

    Like the Eddie Murphy comedy “Trading Places,” it starts with a wager between rich eccentrics about how a poor person will handle the privileges of the rich. The Twain story turns on a poor person tendering a piece of privileged fetish.

    I think H. Richter describes the Fed’s action as “jawboning” and in my opinion, amounts to trying out the conceit of Twain’s story.

  39. LetItRainUSDs says:

    While the purchase amounts may be small by Federal Reserve balance sheet standards, what would be interesting to learn is what specific financial paper was purchased and from whom. Who was favored with Federal Reserve largesse (and why was it necessary for the financial instrument)?

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