The 0% Solution: Fed Strands Bank Savers, Retirees
NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) -- Stock market investors, bankers and "gold bugs" may well be popping the bubbly after news the Federal Reserve will inject $40 billion a month into the mortgage market for the foreseeable future.
The Federal Reserve will also extend its low-interest rate policy into 2015.
The Fed confirmed the moves Thursday, and the stock market, especially financial stocks, and gold prices skyrocketed on the news.
Left out of the party once again are bank savers and U.S. retirees who live on fixed incomes, who once again lose out in the game of monetary musical chairs as low rates eat into their income -- just as they're paying more for critical commodities such as oil, gas, and groceries.
Here is how the Federal Reserve put it in its official release:
To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee also decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015.
In remarks after the announcement, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared to take on critics of the agency's low-interest policy and how it is perceived by bank savers to balance the economic burden on their backs.