The Bank of England is expected today to announce another round of debt monetization, called ‘quantitative easing’. A majority of economists polled by Dow Jones Newswire earlier this week expect the central bank’s policy committee to agree “to £50 billion ($79 billion) of additional bond purchases using freshly created money to underpin demand and ensure its 2% inflation target is met. Some expect it to go for £75 billion.”
Official inflation is over 4 percent in the UK, so how printing more money is going to help meet a 2 percent inflation target is a bit difficult to grasp, but let us not quibble over such details. What counts is that the Bank of England is the undisputed champ of QE. After the next round of money printing, the BoE will have created new money to the tune of 20 percent of GDP, and will fund more than a quarter of all outstanding government debt via the printing press.
£275 billion of QE so far have not solved the crisis – the economy last year grew by less than 1 percent – but have lifted inflation and thus squeezed real incomes. At the same time, this policy has kept the government’s borrowing costs low and the banks from shrinking and in certain cases from collapsing. As with any policy of monetary debasement, the direct beneficiaries are the state and the banks...more