The Beginning Of The End Ad
Gold Buying Guide: Golden Eagle Coins

Recent Posts

The Preppers Blueprint Economic Collapse Blog Get Prepared Now Ad

Enter your email to subscribe to The Economic Collapse Blog:

Delivered by FeedBurner

How In The World Did We Get To The Point Where The Federal Reserve Is Printing Money Out Of Thin Air Whenever It Wants?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Ben Bernanke and the rest of the folks over at the Federal Reserve did not just wake up one day and decide that they wanted to start printing hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air.  The truth is that the economic forces that have brought us to this point have taken decades to develop.  In the post-World War 2 era, when the U.S. economy has fallen into a recession, either the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S. government would indulge in even more deficit spending to stimulate the economy.  But now, as you will see below, both of those alternatives have been exhausted.  In addition, we are now rapidly reaching the point where there are simply not enough lenders out there to feed the U.S. government’s voracious appetite for debt.  So now the Federal Reserve is openly printing hundreds of billions of dollars that will enable them to finance U.S. government borrowing, and (they hope) stimulate the U.S. economy at the same time.  Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not amused.  Nations such as China, Japan and many of the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East have accumulated a lot of U.S. dollars and a lot of U.S. Treasuries and they are not pleased that those investments are now being significantly devalued.

So how did we get to this point?  Why is the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy?

Well, the Federal Reserve has more or less exhausted all of the other tools that it has traditionally used to help the economy during an economic downturn.  As you can see from the chart below, the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates during past recessions.  The goal of lowering interest rates is to make it less expensive to borrow money and thus spark more economic activity.  Well, as you can see, the Federal Reserve has no place else to go with interest rates.  Over the past 30 years, rates have consistently been pushed down, down, down and now they are kissing the floor….

Another way that the U.S. economy has been “stimulated” over the past 30 years is through increased government spending.  The theory is that if the government spends more money, that will get more cash into the hands of the people and spark more economic activity.  That was the whole idea behind the “economic stimulus packages” that were pushed through Congress.  However, increased government spending always comes at a very high cost under our current system.  Government debt is now totally out of control.  As you can see below, the U.S. national debt has exploded from about one trillion dollars in 1980 to over 13 trillion dollars today.  Currently, there is very little appetite in Congress for more government spending to stimulate the economy, especially after the results of the November election.

Most Americans don’t realize it, but much of our incredible “prosperity” over the last 30 years has been fueled by the mountains of debt that we have accumulated.  Now U.S. government debt is exploding at an exponential rate….

Sadly, the U.S. government has absolutely no self-control when it comes to spending money.  Our politicians are absolutely addicted to debt.

The truth is that the U.S. government just can’t seem to stop wasting money. One of the most comical news stories of the past few days involved the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, which is a sub-committee of the larger Recovery Accountability and Transparency board.  This panel will be holding a meeting on November 22nd to discuss how to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse” of economic stimulus funds.

So where will this meeting be held?

It is going to be held at the ultra-luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

Yes, seriously.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

So if the Federal Reserve cannot stimulate the economy through lower interest rates and the U.S. government cannot stimulate the economy by spending even more money, what does that leave us with?

Unfortunately, that leaves us with either doing nothing or with having the Federal Reserve print money out of thin air and shovel it into the economy.

Sadly, even after months of news headlines about quantitative easing, most Americans still do not understand what it is.  The following is a short video that is very humorous but that also does a good job of simply explaining what quantitative easing is and why it is bad for the U.S. economy….

Quantitative Easing Explained

For much more on why quantitative easing is so destructive, please see an article that I previously authored entitled “9 Reasons Why Quantitative Easing Is Bad For The U.S. Economy“.  The truth is that in an all-out effort to give the U.S. economy a short-term boost, the Federal Reserve is putting the entire world financial system in peril.

One group of prominent economists was so alarmed by this new round of quantitative easing that they recently wrote an open letter to Ben Bernanke warning of the dangers that flooding the economy with new money could create.  The following is an excerpt from the text of that open letter which was also posted on the website of the Wall Street Journal…..

We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called “quantitative easing”) should be reconsidered and discontinued.  We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances.  The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment.

We subscribe to your statement in the Washington Post on November 4 that “the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy’s problems on its own.”  In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus.

We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.

The Fed’s purchase program has also met broad opposition from other central banks and we share their concerns that quantitative easing by the Fed is neither warranted nor helpful in addressing either U.S. or global economic problems.

But it isn’t just a few prominent economists that are expressing disapproval for this new round of quantitative easing.  The truth is that almost every major industrialized nation has spoken out against all of this money printing by the Fed.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to publicly defend Ben Bernanke and this new round of quantitative easing at every opportunity.

That is some “change you can believe in”, eh?

Unfortunately, the danger that quantitative easing poses to our financial system is much greater than most Americans realize.

In order for the world financial system to operate smoothly, the rest of the world much have a great deal of faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries.  Ben Bernanke had promised Congress (and the rest of the globe) that the Federal Reserve would not monetize U.S. government debt and that he was going to keep the U.S. dollar strong.  But now Bernanke has broken his promises once again.  At this point Bernanke has lost a ton of credibility.  Unfortunately, Barack Obama and many of the key members of Congress continue to express unwavering support for him.

The rest of the world can see what is going on.  They are not stupid.  They are not going to keep pouring hundreds of billions into U.S. Treasuries if the Federal Reserve is going to “cheat” whenever economic conditions get a little tough.

If the day arrives when the rest of the globe completely loses faith in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries, it is going to create a complete and total financial disaster – especially for the United States.

  • Maria

    So let us rid ourselves of the creature born on Jekyll Island…the Federal Reserve and it’s fraternal twin…the IRS. Allowing the Fed and the IRS to exist all these years has been the single biggest economic mistake this country has ever made.

    Where would we be in five years without them? On the road to recovery with sound money and no income tax?

  • Gary2

    Tax the rich and spread the wealth-no need for the Fed to print more money, the rich have stolen it all, we simply need to tax it away from them and strengthen our social safety net.

  • On June 5, 1933, the United States went off the gold standard, a monetary system in which currency is backed by gold. The United States had been on a gold standard since 1879 but bank failures during the Great Depression of the 1930s frightened the public into hoarding gold, making the policy untenable.

    According to Keynesian economic theory, one of the best ways to fight off an economic downturn is to inflate the money supply. Increasing the amount of gold held by the Federal Reserve would in turn increase its power to inflate the money supply.

    In 1934, President Roosevelt (democrat) increased the price of gold to $35 per ounce, effectively increasing the gold on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheets by 69 percent. This increase in assets allowed the Federal Reserve to further inflate the money supply.

    The government held the $35 per ounce price until August 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon (republican) announced that the United States would no longer convert dollars to gold at a fixed value.

  • Desperate situations call for desperate measures…

    Having said that, since Bernanke’s decision, the dollar is UP against the yen and the euro, and Treasury bonds yields are UP!

    So, there is still appetite for the dollar…

    The rest of the world IS actually stupid, or more precisely, incapable of reacting, not having a clue about what to do!

    Bernanke and his colleagues are like these so-called doctors from the Dark Ages, surrounding an agonizing patient, having no idea what it is suffering from, but ready to bleed it yet another time!

    Chinese, Saoudis and other dollar collectors, are just watching the show, hoping for the best, unwilling to move.

    They are convinced that the world, at least the world as they like it, couldn’t exist without the dollar.

    Therefore, they are ready to eat a lot of humble pies (= piling up worthless US bonds), if this can help the patient to survive a few more days, months, or years…

    Click on my name to visit my blog.

  • mondobeyondo

    Wow! The Head Feds are going to meet on Nov. 22nd, right here in my home town of Phoenix, AZ! How cool! So do we get to throw rocks at them as they exit the resort?

    The Fed’s solution to the current crisis is… more debt. Oh well, who can blame them? It’s the last bullet left in their arsenal. And if that fails (and it WILL fail!!), all of us will be in really deep doo doo.

  • VegasBob

    I’m a Democrat and I voted for Obama in 2008. But trillion$ in bailouts and 4 more years of Bernokio is not change I believe in.

    I won’t vote to re-elect Obama unless the Republicans nominate Palin. Only then will I relent and vote for Obama again.

    So I think Obama is going to be a one-termer unless his opponent is Sarah Palin.

  • mondobeyondo

    Ohhh.. and why would the Feds pick November 22nd as their meeting date??

    May it have something to do with a certain event which happened on that date in 1963?

    The mind wanders… hmmm.

  • Sharky


  • Sancho

    I get a feeling, that the Fed will soon enough inform us, that scheduled quantitative easing is “postponed for now” Why? Because all of a sudden there will be “new and convincing information from the market”. or something like it..

    These guys are playing on both sides in this game.

  • Coulove

    In case you missed it, Foundation X is willing to bail out the UK, the US and all countries for nothing in return….Now, where do you suppose they got all that gold? Perhaps the solution to this whole mess is right under our very noses.

  • Philip M.

    Paul Krugman explains what the Fed can do and cannot do. It’s shocking to know what is really possible. The Fed can practically print money if necessary to ease the burden. It goes even so far that the Fed can print money in the short term to buy long term debt.

    ‘The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008’ by Paul Krugman

    Of course, at some point the economy has to rebound. The Fed can’t print money forever without creating inflation.

  • Obama is definitely on the wrong side of this one with his defense of Bernanke and I agree with the Republicans on this deal. This is little more than a hail mary move by the fed.

    Ironically, it’s the absence of Glass Steagall that set this whole scenario up. The banks would not be scouring the world for yield if they operated as banks. Under that scenario, the fed’s money printing would actually stand a chance of being re-lent rather than finding itself in some speculative investment. Of course, had Glass Steagall remained in place, we wouldn’t have the mess that we have on our hands to begin with.

  • William

    Americans should carefully research the FACTS of how the Federal Reserve came into being. Research “Col” House. Learn how Woodrow Wilson was blackmailed into signing the legislation that created the FED. Learn that the FED is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. So, why does the FED exist today?? Simple. The FED is part of a long term plan to gain a single world government and a single world currency. Learn what David Rockefeller has said on this. The single world government will operate to benefit the chosenites, and NOT YOU!

  • Matt

    I want all you morons who voted for Hussein Obama to vote for him again in order to hasten our destruction – to get it over with quicker so we can get on to rebuilding quicker.

  • Yesterday may have been the day that the world officially ran out of money to loan to world governments. The Fed bought 7 year treasury bonds in the morning but when they stopped the price dropped and the yield rose in the afternoon.

    The supply of buyers has run out. The Fed is becoming the sole buyer of our debt and they can only do so for so long. We have months not years before the system implodes.

  • zack

    We got to this point because the people don’t care about protecting their freedom. They’d rather watch American Idol and worry about Brett Favre. So the politicians have a free hand in selling us out to bankers and their other corporate buddies.

    Jobs in Asia –

  • rick

    Come one people. Read Eustace Mullins, Edward G Griffith,

    GET THE BOOK- “The Most Secret Science” by Archibald E. Roberts

    OFF OF

    WATCH DAMON VRABEL videos on UTUBE and make it VIRAL. You are not GETTING what is actually going on. Educating yourself and then everyone around you is humanities only hope.

  • rick

    The federal reserve is just the tip of the iceburg. International bankers need to be dealt with.

  • Mark Plus

    Those Federal Reserve Notes don’t look like “this air” when April 15 rolls around. Fed money has value because the government accepts it as payment for taxes, and prosecutes people who steal it. If we got to the point where the IRS refused to accept Fed notes to meet tax obligations, and instead required that we pay our taxes in beaver pelts or other tangible commodities, then this “thin air” propaganda would start to make some sense.

    As for the hysteria about “quantitative easing,” the $600 billion dollar figure may sound like an astounding amount of money, but it would buy only about two weeks’ worth of the U.S. GDP. Every employed American could offset that by taking two weeks of unpaid vacation.

  • Juiced

    VegasBob – You are dumb as a box of rocks. It’s idiots like you that perpetuate this right/left paradigm as if there’s a difference. BHO is no different than GWB. Do you really think Sarah Palin will be any different than BHO? Grow up and quit being so naive.

  • Mr Carpenter

    VegasBob, I’m not really a Palin fan, and would much more like to see a real Constitutionalist in the white house as well as in all of congress – you know, people who are actually willing to be servant leaders, and – wowzers – actually FOLLOW THE FOUNDATIONAL LAW OF THE LAND? What an amazing, frickin’ thought, eh?

    Frankly it won’t matter a damn who is in the white house or congress if we continue with the two major parties because neither of them are willing to be servant leaders (rather, they are puppets of the few behind the scenes) nor are they willing to follow the law (we now live in a nation increasingly bereft of true leadership and law).

    Until the majority of voters wake up and realize all of this, the rest of what is said and done is just window dressing.

    But I’m not expecting anyone to realize this all anytime soon since I’ve been singing this same tune for 30 years – only maybe 1-3% of the population realize it enough to actually vote for the Constitution Party or Libertarian Party.

    I guess if we vote for scub bag evil people who are willing to sell their souls for a few scraps of (not even real) money and power, we pretty well deserve the government we get.

    Our nation is foremost morally, spiritually and fiscally bankrupt and until these truly foundational matters are fixed, and people wake up to the reality of what it could be like to actually change our country one person at a time – nothing will get better.


  • Going Galt and Starving The Monkeys is the only way!

  • Mr Carpenter

    Sorry I’d put this in the wrong spot a moment ago. So here it is in the right spot.

    I just got this from the Growth Stock Wire, and I thought I’d share it since it relates 100% to the above. Not forgetting that Argentina went through what we are soon going to go through about 20 years ago.

    “Kirchner was elected President of Argentina in 2003, following the currency crisis. He served until 2007, when his wife took over the post. He was campaigning to run for President again next year, and was widely expected to win.

    It is quite a statement when the market rallies 8% after a candidate’s death. Talk about being worth more dead than alive.

    “Kirchner was a crook,” said a group of businessmen I had lunch with a few days following his death. Indeed, in a country known for electing people of dubious character to higher office, Kirchner raised the standard of thievery.

    His administration was rife with scandal. It was common to hear stories involving bags of cash stashed in various government offices, and suitcases full of money transported through the airport. Kirchner’s net worth ballooned from less than $1 million when he was elected in 2003 to an estimated $70 million when he died two weeks ago. Much of the increase is rumored to have come from various sweetheart real estate deals and corporate kickbacks on government contracts.

    “But he was popular,” I argued. The funeral procession marched down the avenue in front of my apartment. Several thousand people turned out for it.

    “It’s easy to be popular when you buy votes,” the businessmen replied. Many of Kirchner’s policies were designed to redistribute wealth – higher taxes and fees for those who achieved, and more “free” handouts for the rest.

    “Popularity doesn’t mean the policies are in the nation’s best interest,” one businessman said. “I’ll bet most of the crowd was bused and bribed to be at the funeral.”

    I found out later, the housekeeper who cleaned my apartment marched in the funeral procession. She received a sandwich and 100 pesos (about $25) for her participation.

    “So who’s next?” I asked the businessmen. “Who will you vote for?”

    “It doesn’t matter,” they agreed. “Everyone’s corrupt. We’ll just be trading one thief for another. It’s not even worth the bother to vote.”

    And there we have what seems to be the national slogan of Argentina post-currency crisis… Why bother?

    Food wrappers and other trash litter the streets, even though there are trash cans on every corner and it takes little effort to properly dispose of the garbage. But why bother?

    Dog walkers leave their clients’ poop in the middle of the sidewalk despite the stench and mess it makes. Why bother?

    Gentlemen don’t dress for dinner anymore… Many don’t even shave… Why bother?

    It’s as if the entire culture has thrown up its hands and decided it’s not worth the effort. There’s no point working hard if what you earn can be taken away from you by government decree, or if what you need is provided for “free.” Why bother honoring your contracts if the government doesn’t honor its own contracts? Why bother playing the game by the rules if those rules change every time you get ahead?

    As a visitor, it’s hard to digest this thinking. After all, Argentina appears to have a thriving economy. The government reports strong economic numbers. The stock market is up 40% in the past year. There’s constant traffic in the streets of Buenos Aires. And people are bustling along the sidewalks.

    “But we’re peaking,” one businessman said. “And we’re peaking at a much lower level than before.” The rest of the men nodded in agreement. “If only the rest of the government would suffer a heart attack.”

    There is a deep distrust and resentment of the government here – which isn’t a surprise since it was government actions that created the currency crisis years ago, destroying much of the country’s wealth.

    But that wasn’t always the case. Prior to the currency crisis, the government was largely seen as a regulator and a protector of last resort.

    And that is how the U.S. government is seen right now. While it’s not a perception I agree with, it’s apparently the view of the majority of U.S. voters.

    Following a currency crisis, however – if Argentina is any example – the government becomes a competitor. It fights with its citizens for each piece of the pie. And its appetite is insatiable.

    How do you battle against a larger and more powerful entity? I don’t know. Most of the people I’ve met here in Argentina do so by hiding their wealth. They send it overseas, or bury it in their mattresses. They don’t keep it in the banks for fear of confiscation. So the money never makes its way into the economy and growth is always less than what it could be.

    If only the rest of the government would suffer a heart attack… The businessmen’s words replay over again in my head.

    If only…

    Best regards and good trading,

    Jeff Clark”

    The Untied Status of Amerika is moving down the road towards being Argentina North. After all, bondholders in GM and Chrysler were essentially SCREWED out of their rightful place in bankruptcy court so that “pals” of the Democratic administration (i.e. the United Auto Workers UNION) and the US and Canadian governments themselves, could take precidence in the bankruptcy.

    Big banksters were BAILED OUT while the true unemployment rate started to skyrocket towards now being in the range of 22% – which is totally unsustainable. (You cannot have nearly 1 in 4 people being carried by others in addition to trying to carry blood sucking leech-governments at the Federal, State and Local levels, while bailing out the rich). Socialism for the wealthy (bail-outs from the public trough) while capitalism is for the poor (no work after 99 weeks? go hungry).

    This country is going to collapse in the same manner that other Banana republics have.

    Welcome to the BRA (Banana Republic of Amerika); it’s going to get worse from here and has been since the Fed was started.

  • SPQR

    You act as if Palin or even Mickey Mouse are less qualified to be POTUS or could do worse that Obongo. That is hard for me to fathom.

  • Just Observing

    How in the world did we get to that point ??

    Really ?

    You not aware of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 where Congress unconstitutionally gave over it’s authority to “coin money and regulate the value thereof” to a private banking cartel that moved us over to a debt based money system via fractional banking ??

    Heck, we’re coming up on a 100 years of this wonderful system, so I just assumed everybody was aware of how things worked…….

  • M Medina

    Lifestyles for the next generation just took two steps backward. The constant manipulation of commodities and disregard for sound judgement, has the USA leaders reacting like its on the job training. The leaders of our country are selling it people down the river.

  • Koolhed

    You’re not going to see Obama’s name on the ballot in 2012. The DNC won’t get on that sinking ship of his.

    Barry Soetoro destroyed the DEM party in two years, much like GWB did to the Repub party in eight years.

  • Hodgeman


    You are an economic idiot! Why don’t you move to Greece if you want to sponge off the system. The rich are the entities that provide jobs….Putz!

  • This screams Weimar-republik to me. For people who are not familiar with it; it is the democraticly chosen republik that later on evolved in Natie-Germany. They started printing money to. Now we wait for the government to start building tanks and the mess is complete!

  • When presidents Roosevelt (democrat) and Nixon (republican) committed treason by violating the constitution and ending the Gold Standard, they gave the Federal Reserve the power to inflate our money supply, destroy our currency, and end our freedom.

    Eliminating the Federal Reserve without restoring the Gold Standard would not be a complete or effective solution. Politicians have proven that they do not have the discipline necessary to manage our money supply.

  • Pangea

    I’m with Gary2 100% (above)

  • Will hart

    The Fed. has been playing the same record since 1913,, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ?? patriots have been fighting them since day 1 ,, You do understand that the only job of the big MIDIA and education in USA has always been keep the public DUMB, and why are the churches now so closed mouth on any issue ?? tell me please,, THE tea party may be too little too late too ,, I would say we are very close to losing all of AMERIKA ,, does this shock you ,, we are 360 % wrong on every issue from war to our bill of rights ……

  • mondobeyondo: not rocks, *pies*. Large, smeary cream pies in nice flexible aluminum and plastic pie plates. It won’t do any physical injury, but goshwow, will it ever make them look ridiculous.

    If you injure them, you make them into martyrs. But if you can get everybody laughing at them, their power shrinks.

  • Someone tell me if I’m wrong, but here is something scary I’ve observed with my own eyes over the last 5 years. Remember when the Fed was sneaky about buying their own debt? They set up front companies in the Cayman Islands to buy Treasuries and bonds. Today the Fed openly states QE2 is to buy T bills, bonds, and mortgage backed securities. Arrogant might be an understatement.

  • I understand that the 1 Trillion to be used in QE2 won’t be ink and paper but a few clicks on a key pad. It’s bad enough to think blowing all that money after laboriously printing it, but it’s mind boggling to think the whole system teeters on the brink by simply pecking away a few numbers on a computer and hitting transfer. If it’s that easy to make money up in electronic dreamland, it’s even easier for it to come all crashing down just as fast!

  • lostinmissouri

    How did we get to this point?

    We stood back and let them take our gold.
    Before 1913, the USA was the largest economy in the world, whose money, was in gold coin. Paper gold certificates were changeable for gold coin.

    Then, we let the banksters convince government, to change our money to FRNs. Now the banksters are the government!

  • olde reb

    The objective of QE2 is not related to any societal resultant; it is a desperate attempt at self-preservation by the Federal Reserve. Ben’s printing press is in jeopardy.

    If the market is left alone, the value of mortgages held by the banks will continue to fall. When the toxic mortgages eventually have to be written to value, the assets of the banks will rapidly de-leverage—and the banks are obviously bankrupt. When the banks fail, the riots start and Congress–to make a show for the public–will have to point fingers at someone (other than themselves) and that will be at the Fed. If the man behind the curtain is exposed to scrutiny or an audit, all hell will break loose. The Fed will be like BCCI on steroids.

    The economic scheme imposed by the Federal Reserve in 1913 is mathematically analyzed as a self-destructive Ponzi scheme predestined to inherent national bankruptcy. Any Ponzi scheme, including the Fed, cannot survive downsizing (or deflation), hence the desperate action of QE2.



  • JF

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered

    Thomas Jefferson

Finca Bayano

Panama Relocation Tours



Facebook Twitter More...