The Fed’s massive bailout of Primary Dealers and its alphabet soup loan programs for all other big financial players, have now made moral hazard permanent and structural. Why worry about risk when you know that the Fed will always take you off the hook when the shit hits the fan?
How can we know how this will play out? How can we know if these loans can ever be repaid? Will they be repaid through inflation, perhaps hyperinflation? Or will the borrowers simply default if the markets and economy recover too slowly?
Then who will be on the hook for the Fed’s guarantees when the Fed must assume the losses? Who pays? Taxpayers? Depositors? Everyone, again through massive inflation?
Of course, there’s always a chance that everything turns out just fine. The world returns to normal in a few months. The economy bounces back, and all the trillions lent by the Fed gets repaid timely, with no financial price to be paid.
We don’t know, but there will be telltale signs in the weeks ahead that will give us a heads up.
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