Back in 2016 I wrote about the Federal Reserve’s various quantitative easing operations constituting the greatest transfer of wealth in history.
I explained how $4.5 trillion metered out over the course of 7 years through various QE programs did in fact keep the ATMs running, but it also fueled the stock market with many companies buying back their own stock. Barely a pittance was allocated for Main St.
Well fast forward to Covid-19(84). In less than a month since the pandemic hit the US, we have a possible $6.6 trillion aid package – with more to come — that will be dispensed in the next month or so. Not distributed over years, but mere days.
Let me do some back of the envelope math. There is the $2.2 trillion bill President Trump signed last week and then there is the estimated $4.4 trillion the Fed and Treasury Department have used to purchase troubled debt from Wall St.
If you breakdown the estimated $6.6 trillion aid package — since it really isn’t stimulus, we are so past that point — Main St. once again comes out on the short end.
Forgetting all the pork in this Chinese flu rescue bill, the American people are slated to receive a little over $1 trillion in their pockets. This ranges from direct payments to bridge loans for small businesses with the incentive that if they keep workers employed the loan is forgiven.
However, the US banks will be making money from Treasury to make these small business loans with no risk of default since they are backed up by Treasury.
Let’s face it many months before anyone in the world ever heard about Wuhan, the Fed was injecting billions of dollars to prop up the overnight repo market since most of Wall St did not trust its fellow financial firms to loan short-term money.
Most recently these loans became longer in duration than overnight since some firms could not payoff the loan the following day. There was a growing problem of liquidity in the banking sector.
So where does this leave us today?
I am hesitant to call this the greatest transfer of wealth ever, since again we are only weeks into the disaster, but the scope of this aid package will change the American landscape forever.
What the economy and the psyche of the American people will be in 4 months from now will be forever changed.
In what sense?
I’m not smart enough right now to put a label on it, but the American work ethic will be battered and bruised the longer this economic shutdown goes on.
The gig economy may have greased the skids for the younger generations to look favorably on a career as a lifetime effort, but this current situation has taken that to the Nth degree.
Perhaps in the not too distant future the term “I’m working on it” will seem as quaint as “I do declare”.