To get an idea of why I’m concerned, have a look at a chart James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, included in a recent presentation to the National Association for Business Economics.
What you see here is Bullard’s estimate of the future growth of Federal Reserve assets.
A lot of people seem to have forgotten something that is very much on Bullard’s mind: The growth of the Fed’s balance sheet isn’t nearly finished. In fact, the Fed has only completed purchasing about half of the $1.75 trillion worth of assets it has promised to buy. The assets are mostly mortgages and mortgage-related securities.
Even though these direct purchases are unprecedented, that’s only about 10% of the story. Since the beginning of the crisis