How the Federal Reserve Is Increasing Wealth Inequality
The Fed’s low-interest-rate policies have stabilized the economy and turbocharged the stock market. But those who don’t own lots of stocks haven’t benefited anywhere near as much as those who do.
by Allan Sloan and Cezary Podkul
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the Federal Reserve has gotten plenty of kudos for moves that have helped stabilize the economy, kept house prices from tanking and supported the stock market. But those successes have obscured another effect: the inadvertent impact the Fed’s ultra-low interest rates and bond-buying sprees are having on economic inequality….“Inequality is a cumulative process,” said Karen Petrou, author of “The Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future of Wealth in America” and managing partner of the Washington-based consulting firm Federal Financial Analytics. “The richer you are, the richer you get, and the poorer you are, the poorer you get, unless something puts that engine in reverse,” she said. “That engine is driven not by fate or by untouchable phenomena such as demographics but most importantly by policy decisions.”