Last September, for instance, Jerome Powell bemoaned the "relative stagnation of income" for people with lower incomes in the United States, but then claimed the Fed "doesn't have the tools" to address this issue. Instead, Powell, being the chairman of this ostensibly "independent" and "nonpolitical" central bank, called for the federal government to engage in fiscal policy efforts at income redistribution.
Powell, of course, is wrong, and he probably knows he's wrong. In any case, if the Fed were actually concerned about wealth and income inequality, the Fed would stop doing what it has done over the past decade. It would end its ultralow interest rate policy and quantitative easing.
These policies have been at the center of the post–Great Recession economy, in which wealthy owners of stocks and real estate become ever more fabulously wealthy, even as ordinary people face stagnating employment, low economic growth, and a rising cost of living. This only accelerated during the economic crises of 2020, when endless Fed efforts to prop up the stock market meant that financial markets soared—and with them the portfolios of the wealthy—even as unemployment rose to record levels. Even Jim Cramer could see what was happening and declared Fed policy to be a part of "one of the greatest wealth transfers in history."
The ways that the Fed effects wealth transfers to the financial sector and the state—at the expense of everyone else—have long been the domain of Austrian school critics of central banks. That is, we've long noted in these pages how financial repression and so-called easy money have fueled vast riches for Wall Street, while leaving the middle classes and lower-income Americans behind.