Economist Peter Schiff is no fan of quantitative easing as Fed monetary policy, and he said President Donald Trump calling for Obama-era stimulus while the economy is supposedly booming is not only hypocritical, but incomprehensible.
“Donald Trump is, on the one hand, saying we’ve got the greatest economy ever in the history of the country. Yet he’s also saying we need the same type of stimulus that we had during the Great Recession. If we need life support, it’s not strong.”
Quantitative easing is a policy by which a central bank like the Federal Reserve buys government bonds in order to inject new cash into the economy. It was the most profound monetary experiment in the history of the world and was the new norm between 2008 and 2014, quadrupling the monetary base of the world’s dominant currency, the U.S. dollar, from less than $1 trillion to more than $4 trillion.
The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate four times during 2018, prompting Trump to say it “really slowed us down” economically because there is “very little if any inflation.”
“In terms of quantitative tightening, it should actually now be quantitative easing,” Trump said. “I think they should drop rates, and they should get rid of quantitative tightening. You would see a rocket ship.”
The Fed also has committed to ending quantitative tightening — reducing the central bank’s bond holdings — in September.
Schiff said on his latest podcast that Trump is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, asking if the economy is so great, why do we need recession-era stimulus to prop it up further?
“Donald Trump is, on the one hand, saying we’ve got the greatest economy ever in the history of the country. Yet he’s also saying we need the same type of stimulus that we had during the Great Recession,” Schiff said. “If we need life support, it’s not strong.”
Schiff also said it’s hypocritical for Trump to call for QE when he frequently railed against it while Obama was in office.
“Now as president, he is calling for the Federal Reserve to do exactly what he criticized the Federal Reserve for doing when Obama was president,” he said. “But now he’s president and he wants the Fed to do political things because he is the beneficiary — because now it’s the Trump economy so it’s the Trump bubble.
“And so he wants the bubble to get bigger and bigger, and so he wants the Fed to make the same mistakes under his administration that it made under the Obama administration, and he no longer gives a damn about the long-term consequences that may be negative because the furthest in the future that Donald Trump can now see is the 2020 election, and he wants a second term.”
Schiff said Trump’s call for more QE exposes the government’s big lie about the health of the economy, and that it’s nothing more than a “big, fat, ugly bubble,” and the president would admit as much in private.
“I think when Donald Trump talks about how great the economy is, I don’t think he believes it. I think it’s just talk. I think it’s just a show that he’s putting on. I think it’s all public relations,” he said. “I think deep down, if you could get the president in a room and he could talk in confidence, I think he would admit that the economy is not doing well. I think he knows it’s the same big, fat, ugly bubble that he called out when he was a candidate.”
Schiff of course has been saying all along that the economy isn’t in great shape and that when the next recession hits, there won’t be much the Fed can do to pump it back up because rates have been so low for so long.
“If the Fed waits for the recession to start, the recession is not going to be over before the election,” he said. “And if the economy goes into recession, now what is the basis for Trump’s campaign for reelection? It’s supposed to be ‘Keep America Great.’ Well if America is back in recession, who’s going to want to keep that?”
“Trump is not talking about putting Cain or Moore on the Federal Reserve because he wants to go back to the gold standard,” he said. “He wants them there because they’re Republicans, they’re partisan and they’re his friends. And they understand, I think, that the Federal Reserve has inflated a bubble — just like Trump — and their main goal at the Fed will be to keep the party going long enough to reelect him.”