From the New York Times account of the Fed decision to pump an additional $1 trillion into mortgage and Treasury securities:
But there were also clear indications that the Fed was taking risks that could dilute the value of the dollar and set the stage for future inflation. Gold prices rose $26.60 an ounce, hitting $942, a sign of declining confidence in the dollar. The dollar, which had been losing value in recent weeks to the euro and the yen, dropped sharply again on Wednesday.
The article also notes that:
Since last September, the Fed’s lending programs have roughly doubled the size of its balance sheet, to about $1.8 trillion, from $900 billion. The actions announced on Wednesday are likely to expand that to well over $3 trillion over the next year.
As I’ve written at greater length, the combination of fiscal and monetary policies being pursued are quite likely to cause a nasty inflation, and yet there is absolutely no room for debate in polite society about the long-term consequences of what we’re doing. Just because inflation isn’t a problem now, the conventional view is that we should throw caution to the wind and keep pumping money into the system and try all sorts of fiscal stimulus because eventually something will work. The important thing is to get the economy moving again, and nothing else matters. But it’s exactly this type of short term thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. After the bursting of the Internet bubble and the post-9/11 economic downturn, both Wall Street and Washington policy makers had an interest in the housing boom, which was propping up the economy and giving life to financial markets that had also been battered by a wave of accounting scandals. People bought houses that they couldn’t afford with “teaser rates” — and they figured they’d worry later when those rates adjusted upward. At every level, the crisis was created by short-term thinking rather than long-term planning, and though the circumstances are different, we’re guided by the same psychology right now.
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