Peter Schiff, the eternal provocateur, suggests the Fed’s extraordinary support of bond and housing markets will lead to a market crash as interest rates rise, leaving banks, mortgage originators, and lenders stuck with homes and low yielding loans as the economy slows, exacerbating the decline and throwing the economy into a deeper crisis.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke endured some hostile questioning in Congress last week. At one point, responding to a question about QE by Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, Bernanke was explaining “[quantitative easing] doesn’t involve any new spending or revenue,” when he was cut off by Westmoreland, who said “oh, I got you, just money printing, right?” The Fed Chairman’s demeanor froze for a second, after which he continued “it’s acquiring securities in order to reduce interest rates and ease financial conditions in the economy,” tacitly accepting the “money printing” comment.
Precisely those purchases of assets to further ease monetary policy are cooking a bigger financial crash than in 2008, Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital argues, and that collapse will start with the housing and bond markets.
Paradoxically, the housing market is firing on all cylinders, with homebuilders like KB Home and Lennar trading close to their 52-week highs. This is irrational exuberance, according to Schiff, as the market is fully subsidized by the Fed. “The U.S. government is guaranteeing all mortgages, and then buying them up,” explained Schiff, “it’s an artificial market, but the Fed, rather than Lehman Brothers, owns it.”
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