Free Money for 18 Months
The Fed cannot directly give money away so that burden falls on Congress. Kashkari follows Fed Chair Jerome Powell in seeking Congressional Action.
“They are going to need more. If this is a slow recovery, the way I think it is -- I think we’re in this for months, a year, 18 months -- there are going to be a lot of families that are going to need direct financial assistance,” Kashkari said Thursday during a virtual event with CBS. “I think a V–shaped recovery is off the table.”
“Putting money directly in the hands of laid-off Americans is, I think, the most direct way to get assistance, and then they will spend the money where they need it,” Kashkari said. “I just think money in the pockets of people who have lost their jobs is what we need right now until we can get the health care system to catch up and get control of this virus.”
I case you were wondering what sent the S&P in a huge 70-point S&P 500 U-Turn today, that reason is as good as any.
Yesterday, Powell made similar statements, just not as forceful.
Recall that the Fed has lending powers, not spending powers. A loan from a Fed facility can provide a bridge across temporary interruptions to liquidity, and those loans will help many borrowers get through the current crisis. But the recovery may take some time to gather momentum, and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems. Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery. This tradeoff is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending.
Those are Powell's exact words in a speech he made yesterday. Following the Speech there was a Q&A in which Powell addressed negative interest rates.
For discussion, please see Negative Rates Are Not an Option
Panic Sets In
The Fed seldom mentions actions that Congress needs to take. Yet, we have back-to-back messages from Powell and Kashkari on the need for free more free money from Congress.
This is a clear sign of panic.