Thomas Hoenig is one of America’s notorious but misunderstood dissidents. As chairman of the Fed’s regional bank in Kansas, he was on the policy committee. The Federal Open Market Committee demands consensus in its decisions to present a united front to the masses. However, Hoenig’s series of nos has set a precedent for a radical change in the US economy.
Between 2008 and 2014, the Federal Reserve decided to print more
over $ 3.5 trillion in new bills. That would be the equivalent of filling three centuries of money supply in just a few years. As expected, prices have skyrocketed in all markets. Hoenig was the only executive who consistently rejected this course of action. From 2010, he faced off against Ben Bernanke, who was widely acclaimed for his ambitious bailout plans.
While he may have lost the fight with him being the only one back, his reputation is far from accurate. While inflation was a big concern, Hoenig was more concerned that a risky path would widen the income gap, fuel dangerous asset bubbles and make the biggest banks richer than everyone else.
He was right on all of these points, but he was ignored. His warnings have now come true. We live in a world where inflation rates are skyrocketing faster than expected. The Fed has signaled an interest rate hike in the coming years. However, this move is more likely to cause a recession.
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“There is no painless solution,” Hoenig said in a recent interview. “It is going to be difficult. And the longer you wait, the more painful it will end up being.
Hoenig stressed that there can be no painless solution, with the problem getting worse as we wait. It means that high unemployment, social instability and years of economic malaise will become the norm.
Part of Hoenig’s infamous dissent was witnessing firsthand a situation of a similar caliber in the 1970s. He was given the dirty job of cleaning up after the Great Inflation. Unfortunately, the current situation is no different and the Federal Reserve helped create it.