Thus far, this enormous injection of new reserves into the banking system hasn't caused the CPI to explode, but that is because (a) the banks are mostly sitting on the new reserves because they are all terrified, and (b) the public's demand for cash balances has risen sharply. But using very back-of-the-envelope calculations, there is now enough slack in the system so that if banks calmed down and lent out the maximum amount of reserves, the public's total money stock could increase by a factor of 10. There is no way that the public will simply add that new money to its checking accounts or home safes without increasing their spending. Eventually, prices quoted in U.S. dollars will start shooting upward.
All of the financial analysts are aware of this threat, but they foolishly reassure us, "Bernanke will unwind the Fed's holdings once the economy improves." But this commits the same mistake as the Keynesians during the 1970s: What happens when the CPI begins rising several percentage points per month, and unemployment is still in the double digits? What would Bernanke do at that point? Expecting the Fed chief to relinquish his new role of buying hundreds of billions in assets at whim, in the midst of a severe recession, would be akin to hoping that a dictator would end his declaration of "emergency" martial law in the middle of a civil war.
There are even many free market economists who are predicting that the Fed's massive money-pumping will "fix" the economy, at least for a while, but at the cost of high price inflation. Yet these analysts don't realize that they are buying into - what we all thought was - the discredited Phillips Curve. The 1970s proved that the Fed cannot fix structural problems with the economy by showering it with new money. Hyper-depression is simply stagflation squared.
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