March 23 (EIRNS)—The gigantic “coronavirus Bill 3” under furious negotiations in the Senate since March 19, failed to get past procedural votes today. It clearly was intended by the Senate Republican leadership to save stock markets from another plunge, but was replaced in that by a blizzard of announcements of new Federal bailout programs early Monday morning, March 23.
The legislation—which may now be replaced by a $2.5 trillion bill originating in the House and which Republicans will oppose—had one huge chunk of about $500 billion in spending for aid to small business, states, and cities. A still larger amount was to be paid out to households and individuals, inversely to their 2018 taxable income. And some $425 billion was to go to the Treasury to cover the Federal Reserve’s losses on the blitz of QE and lending it is doing.
Here are the Federal Reserve’s operations over the past 20 days as it has desperately worked to make frozen and collapsing City of London and Wall Street securities markets liquid:
• Cut interest rates from 1.25% to 0.15%.
• Launched over $700 billion in quantitative easing.
• Launched a $1.5 trillion repo program.
• Launched a second $1 trillion repo program.
• Announced it will begin buying commercial paper (short-term corporate debt) from banks.
• Allowed primary dealer banks to use stocks and many other securities, as collateral in exchange for short-term credit.
• Announced it will begin buying municipal debt from banks.
• Opened unlimited dollar swap-lines to 14 other central banks for their similar operations with dollar-denominated securities.
As it has gone through all these credit markets one after another, they have all remained largely frozen. So, on Monday morning, it added buying corporate bonds directly; but much more: The Fed announced its “quantitative easing” programs were now absolutely without limit. And in fact, it is now buying securities from banks and Wall Street and City of London financial firms at the nearly inconceivable rate of $125 billion/day.
Even as the Senate bill was failing to advance, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House principal in the Congressional negotiations, said last night that the bill was “cooperative with the Federal Reserve” and was intended to provide “$4 trillion in total liquidity to businesses and households”—a nice phrase for Wall Street speculators getting most of it.
Whether or not that $450 billion appropriation remains in the legislation as it progresses, it’s the law that the Treasury will have to pay the losses in the Fed’s frenzy to buck up the values of many trillions in failing securities. And the losses will likely be larger than that figure. The Treasury will issue bonds to borrow that money, and eventually taxpayers will pay for those losses. Helicopter money is not “debt-free.”
A sane policy would exclude all these City of London- and Wall Street-created securities from any support either by taxpayers or commercial banks. That requires putting the big City of London and Wall Street bank holding companies through Glass-Steagall reorganization immediately, to “dry out” the securities markets. Helga Zepp-LaRouche has wisely called for a holiday of those markets to allow such Glass-Steagall bank reorganization.