Unorthodox monetary policy vs. fiscal policy

The Fed is ready to do more, namely:

The Fed has already been buying mortgage-backed securities and said in
its statement that it would expand its intervention as needed. The
committee also served notice that it would purchase longer-term
Treasury bonds, a move that would drive down long-term interest rates of all types.

Two points are worth making.  First, defenders of large-scale stimulus point out that such measures may well not work.  That is true, but what are the conditions under which unorthodox monetary policy maybe will not work?  Low confidence and zombie banks, which are more or less the same conditions under which fiscal policy may not work either.  In that sense unorthodox monetary policy doesn't face a separate problem.

Second, cash and T-Bills have a broadly similar risk profile but cash and these other assets do not.  At some point monetary policy becomes fiscal policy too, as a quick look at the Fed's balance sheet will indicate.  So it's fiscal policy based on Treasury borrowing vs. fiscal policy based on Bernanke and money creation.  In a time of deflationary pressures, and a bad fiscal future, usually I would prefer Fed-led fiscal policy.  I do recognize that we are placing more weight on the Fed than it can bear, but of course at this point there are no good options.


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