Quantitative easing is a hard concept to comprehend and I would not classify it as easy to write about either. I wanted to write an article about the subject in August. I sat down to do my research and gather sources. When I decided to take a break, I saw that I had been reading articles, watching videos, and listening to audio clips on the subject for five hours. And I felt like I had barely scratched the surface of the subject. And I just wanted to write a blog, not a graduate school thesis.
The economic collapse of 2008 and the fallout of it, part of which being quantitative easing, are the fuel for me wanting to write economics articles in simple language.
QE (quantitative easing’s often used abbreviation) is a tool in the monetary policy tool belt of the a country’s central bank. In the case of the QE being used by the United States Federal Reserve Bank (not associated with the federal government) to ease credit flow or encourage lending by banks to small businesses and citizens, buy up government bonds with freshly printed money to keep the financial markets stabilized, and encourage large scale investors to invest in safer more boring assets than riskier/sexier assets (derivatives, credit default swaps).
So the Fed is printing money and buying government debt with it to stop the bleeding, close the wound, and aide in the rehab of the US financial sector and the global economy.
Sounds good right? The central bank of the United States is using their stroke to end a financial crisis and prevent another one…..except…Many signs and indicators are pointing to the economy becoming or already being dependent upon QE, hence the crack analogy/drug metaphor. There are also signs pointing to an asset bubble growing in the debt market. What do both of those last points mean? I’ll explain and expand in part two…