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First there was trillion dollar platinum coin idea and now there is QE Cubed, proposed in a Bloomberg Businessweek opinion piece of February 1st by David Kemper.
Admittedly I’ve been a bit slow to pick up this story. I wouldn’t have found it at all if not for following Jim Rickards on Twitter. Rickards, author of Currency Wars, was asked about Kemper’s QE Cubed by The Voice of Russia.
Kemper, by the way, is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Commerce Bancshares and is past President of the Federal Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve.
Kemper says the Federal Open market Committee should stop these namby pamby QEs and just take care of the federal deficit while its stimulating the economy. Kemper writes,
Why not expand the Fed balance sheet exponentially, from its current $3 trillion to $33 trillion? Earning an extra 3 percent on another $30 trillion in bonds would allow the Fed to return an additional $900 billion to the Treasury—thus wiping out most of our federal deficit while avoiding actually having to do anything about current government spending”?
Mr. Kemper notes that the Fed is making money hand over fist. He writes, “It earned more than twice Apple’s after-tax earnings last year, the result of a simple but powerful strategy: borrow money at very low rates, then buy long-term bonds.”
Borrow money? The Fed doesn’t borrow money. It has a more “powerful strategy” than that: it buys bonds with nothing–Fed credit–money created out of thin air.
Kemper then yammers on about some people thinking the Fed has an unfair advantage, Americans have no stomach for tightening their belts, and no one in government wants to find a solution, so, this Forrest Gump-like bank CEO actually writes, “Why not go with a business model that has proven to be such a winner?”
Kemper says they’ll have to buy all $15 trillion of the US debt as well as agency debt and some corporate debt in order to bulk up to $33 trillion. “But we can make this happen!” He cheers.
Mr. Kemper continues his piece that would, by the way, be hilarious on the Onion, by saying that the Fed needs to buy up all Treasury debt from “the Chinese, the Japanese, the Saudis, Bill Gross, and everybody else” Kemper then puts it in human terms,
Would you, the American taxpayer, rather owe money to your benevolent rich uncle (the Fed) who is trying to get you a job, or to your no-good brother-in-law (you know who) who is out to steal your business and all your intellectual property? Not a difficult decision.
When these creditors get paid back, they will collectively have $30 trillion burning a hole in their pockets. They’ll be bidding up asset prices and happy days will be here again.
Kemper’s not sure about whether his plan would be inflationary or not, “but we need a game-changer here.”
He says let’s celebrate the Fed’s record profit and ramp up the central bank to take care of the deficit. In a grand flourish he concludes,
Then let’s seize the moment to do something truly grand: eliminate that stubborn deficit. We have the tools, and I, for one, say let’s give it a try.
This plan would be a game-changer alright. One right out of Gideon Gono’s Zimbabwe playbook.
Ben Bernanke’s term as Fed Chair is ending soon. I haven’t heard Mr. Kemper’s name floated as a candidate. If he emerges on Obama’s radar screen you might want to think about Plan B.