The Federal Reserve was blowing up the economy before anyone had heard of the coronavirus. From Jeff Deist at mises.org:
This text is excerpted from the introduction to Anatomy of the Crash, a Mises Institute ebook to be released in April 2020.]
The Great Crash of 2020 was not caused by a virus. It was precipitated by the virus, and made worse by the crazed decisions of governments around the world to shut down business and travel. But it was caused by economic fragility. The supposed greatest economy in US history actually was a walking sick man, made comfortable with painkillers, and looking far better than he felt—yet ultimately fragile and infirm. The coronavirus pandemic simply exposed the underlying sickness of the US economy. If anything, the crash was overdue.
Too much debt, too much malinvestment, and too little honest pricing of assets and interest rates made America uniquely vulnerable to economic contagion. Most of this vulnerability can be laid at the feet of central bankers at the Federal Reserve, and we will pay a terrible price for it in the coming years. This is an uncomfortable truth, one that central bankers desperately hope to obscure while the media and public remain fixated on the virus.
But we should not let them get away with it, because (at least when it comes to legacy media) the Fed’s gross malfeasance is perhaps the biggest untold story of our lifetimes.
Symptoms of problems were readily apparent just last September during the commercial bank repo crisis. After more than a decade of quantitative easing, relentless interest rate cutting, and huge growth in “excess” reserves (more than $1.5 trillion) parked at the Fed, banks still did not have enough overnight liquidity? The repo market exposed how banks were capital contstrained, not reserve constrained. So what exactly was the point of taking the Fed’s balance sheet from less than $1 trillion to over $4 trillion, anyway? Banks still needed money, after a decade of QE?