You've likely seen it a thousand times before. "My parents went to wherever and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." As clichéd as this slogan may be, it's a characterization that many feel applies perfectly to the Fed, which has spent trillions of dollars restoring Wall Street to pre-crisis levels while doing almost nothing to improve the standing of 95% of the population that resides on Main Street.
"Main Street is a long way from back," says Simon Baker, the CEO of Baker Ave. Asset Management, in the attached video. "If the question is, 'Is Main Street happy?' I don't think so," Baker protests.
He refers to the Fed's ongoing stimulus efforts as "a massive, $3.7 trillion redistribution of wealth" that has only benefited banks and financial firms, as well as the wealthiest 5% of the country that holds real assets such as stocks and real estate.
"They're the ones benefiting," he says, "not Main Street."
Baker is not the only financial industry player currently questioning the merits of so-called quantitative easing at a time when the Fed's $85 billion a month (or $1 trillion annual) bond buying program is about to sunset.
PIMCO's Bill Gross, for example, is also making headlines by challenging the fairness of the country's tax system which he says unfairly favors billionaires like himself. In a recent note to clients Gross wrote that the era of taxing 'capital' at lower rates than 'labor' should end. "If you’re in the privileged 1%, you should be paddling right alongside and willing to support higher taxes on carried interest, and certainly capital gains readjusted to existing marginal income tax rates," the California based king of the bond fund wrote.
For Baker, there is no stronger evidence than the correlation seen between the rise of the Fed's QE spending and the S&P 500's four year jaunt to record highs.
"(QE) is not encouraging banks to do more loans, and it's not encouraging people to hire more folks," Baker says. "So it's not helping Main Street," where he points to flat wages and stagnant wealth as the primary indicators of the widening gap between the super-rich and the rest of us.
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