Alan Greenspan: QE Failed To Help The Economy, The Unwind Will Be Painful, “Buy Gold”

Courtesy of Zerohedge:

It appears it is time for some Hillary-Clinton-esque backtracking and Liesman-esque translation of just what the former Federal Reserve Chief really meant. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Fed chief from 1987 to 2006 says the Fed’s bond-buying program fell short of its goals, and had a lot more to add.

Mr. Greenspan’s comments to the Council on Foreign Relations came as Fed officials were meeting in Washington, D.C., and expected to announce within hours an end to the bond purchases.

He said the bond-buying program was ultimately a mixed bag. He said that the purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities did help lift asset prices and lower borrowing costs. But it didn’t do much for the real economy.

“Effective demand is dead in the water” and the effort to boost it via bond buying “has not worked,” said Mr. Greenspan. Boosting asset prices, however, has been “a terrific success.”

He observed that history shows central banks can only prick bubbles at great economic cost. “It’s only by bringing the economy down can you burst the bubble,” and that was a step he wasn’t willing to take while helming the Fed, he said.

The question of when officials should begin raising interest rates is “one of those questions I cannot answer,” Mr. Greenspan said.

He also said, “I don’t think it’s possible” for the Fed to end its easy-money policies in a trouble-free manner…. Continue reading

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