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IPFS News Link • Economy - Economics USA

David Stockman on Why Main Street Households Are Left High And Dry…

•, by David Stockman

Self-evidently, the Fed's pro-inflation policy has backfired. Rather than functioning as a stimulant to growth, it has ended up devouring nearly all of the modest nominal wage gains that have been realized by private sector workers in America.

Needless to say, this has been far from the case historically. In fact, real median family income grew at a robust 3.54% per annum between 1954 and 1969. But shortly thereafter, the Fed's shackles were removed with respect to gold convertibility in August 1971, and it was off to the inflationary races from there.

During the next 53 years, family incomes barely won the footrace against the waves of inflation generated by the nation's central bank. Real median family income rose by only 0.74% per annum between 1969 and 2022 or by just 21% of the 1954-1969 average.

That's right. Median family income growth in inflation-adjusted terms has decelerated by four-fifths since 1969. So the question surely recurs: Did the lapse of fiscal and monetary policy into Keynesian deficits and money-printing actually stimulate the growth of main street living standards and real wealth?

Most surely it did not.

To be sure, we don't believe the Fed is intentionally trying to monkey-hammer the middle class.  The explanation is actually both more direct and more sinister. To wit, especially since the arrival of Alan Greenspan at the Fed, the nation's central bank has increasingly become the outright captive of Wall Street money shufflers and speculators.

Moreover, the latter is inherent in the Keynesian form of modern central banking because its policy transmission mechanism runs right through the canyons of Wall Street. The Fed's policy-making arm, the FOMC, is not only located on Liberty Street at the foot of the financial district but utterly depends upon Wall Street traders of stocks, bonds, money and their derivatives to transmit its policy directives to the main street economy. That is to say, the Fed funds rate is the financial lever from which the Fed cascades price signals to the money and bond markets and from there to equities, real estate and other financial assets, which, in turn, are supposed to levitate the rate of investment and real growth on main street.