Mitt Romney Is Off Base on QE3 Criticism
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mitt Romney has twisted himself into an awkward position when it comes to the bold stimulus plan announced by the Federal Reserve this week.
In a speech to New York City donors on Friday, Romney said in reference to QE3 that the course for America was to foster economic growth, not print more money.
"We're not going to have to look for the sugar high that comes with QE3 or QE4 or QE5 or QE6," Romney said, according to Bloomberg. "The real course ahead for America is to encourage the growth of our economy, not just to go out there and print more money."
To say that the country needs to simply encourage growth -- Romney didn't specify what he meant, but he likely was referring to a more favorable regulatory environment and less burdensome taxation -- does not mean monetary policy operates extraneously from economic progress.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke specifically said on Thursday that its the central bank's new program to purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month would "remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens." The central bank also extended Operation Twist, a program that buys longer-term securities as the shorter-dated ones mature each month.
Romney, who comes from the world of private equity, likely understands the Fed's decision, and it would be unfair to assume that QE3 will be a successful program. In fact, many analysts continue to question the impact of QE2.
"There's a good chance with the Fed on the margins, pushing treasury mortgage yields to levels below where they would otherwise be in an unfettered markets ... that investors are going to go into corporate debt and then push investors from corporate debt into lower quality corporate debt," said said Robert Tipp, chief investment strategist at Prudential Fixed Income. "And people on the margins getting pushed into equities and so on it pushes people out the risk spectrum as investors."
More simply, part of the Fed's hope is that these moves will buoy investor wealth and decrease the cost of raising money. Bernanke is also attempting to reduce the cost of capital for corporations to make projects more attractive to invest in.
The Romney campaign used the Fed's new monetary policy announcement to claim that it confirmed Obama's economic policies had failed.