Have You Noticed How Push-Back Against Powell-Fed’s Actions Is Getting Louder in the Mainstream Media, from NPR to CNBC?

Have You Noticed How Push-Back Against Powell-Fed’s Actions Is Getting Louder in the Mainstream Media, from NPR to CNBC?

Still a lot of fawning coverage, but big dissenters are now given prominent spots, and loaded questions are used to politely hammer Powell into telling obvious nonsense.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

This is an interesting turn of events, in a world of Fed-fawning mainstream media. In one version, the push-back takes the form of loaded questions about asset bubbles and wealth inequality caused by the Fed’s asset purchases.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell then answers, following what looks like a script because these loaded questions are now being thrown at him regularly. He admits that the Fed’s policies have increased asset prices, then says the Fed as a matter of policy doesn’t comment on asset prices, and hence cannot comment on asset bubbles, but then assiduously denies that this increased wealth of the asset holders, which he admits the Fed has engineered, widened the wealth inequality to the majority of Americans who hold no or nearly no assets, and who got shafted by the Fed. It’s like getting pushed on live TV into saying that, yes, indeed, two plus two equals three!

This happened many times, most notably during the July 29 FOMC press conference when a Bloomberg reporter pushed Powell on that (transcript of my podcast on the Fed’s role in wealth inequality); and during the interview with NPR which aired on September 4, when he was pushed on both, asset bubbles and wealth inequality.

In another version, the push-back in the mainstream media takes more accusatory forms expressed with exasperation and dotted with exclamation marks.

In early August, notable push-backers were former president of the New York Fed William Dudley and Bloomberg News which carried and promoted his editorial.

Dudley said that the Fed purchased these huge amounts of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities in March to bail out hedge funds, mortgage REITs, and others through the backdoor as the Treasury market went haywire. Hedge funds, he wrote, “were caught in an untenable trade of being long cash Treasuries and short Treasury futures,” and those highly leveraged huge trades began to blow up (transcript of my podcast).

And this, Dudley wrote in the editorial, “brings us back to moral-hazard problem: investors win during good times (they can assume more risk and earn higher returns) while the Fed and the U.S. Treasury (ultimately taxpayers) assume part of the downside risks when there is trouble in financial markets. This is likely to encourage even greater risk-taking down the road, making it more likely that investors and markets will need to be rescued in the future,” he said, adding, “This doesn’t seem to be a good road to stay on.”

And this morning it was CNBC, which interviewed hedge-fund founder-manager Stanley Druckenmiller on Squawk Box, which has a large audience, and the video spread across the internet, and most financial publications covered it, multiplying the reach of the message. And by airing the concerns of a famous investor, like Druckenmiller, on the show, CNBC spread the word far and wide.

Druckenmmiller didn’t get into wealth inequality, but he got into asset bubbles and the “massive, massive raging mania in financial assets,” as he said, that the Fed has caused, the “de facto MMT,” and how this was “dangerous.” Here is my transcript of portions of his take:

“I think the merging of the Fed and the Treasury, which is effectively what’s happening during Covid, sets a precedent that we’ve never seen since the Fed got their independence. And it’s obviously creating a massive, massive raging mania in financial assets, and as you just pointed out, Joe, it has not spilled over to Main Street.”

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.