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The Federal Reserve's Soft Landing Myth Exposed

The Federal Reserve's Soft Landing Myth Exposed

Jun 28, 2024

The Federal Reserve's Soft Landing Myth Exposed

In the wake of ongoing economic uncertainty, the markets appear to be clinging to the elusive hope of a 'soft landing' for the impending recession—a maneuver which, despite a century's worth of attempts, the Federal Reserve has yet to successfully execute. Renowned economist and Mises Institute scholar Ryan McMaken has illuminated the persistent myth of this soft landing, which has become the foundation of American financial optimism, underpinning everything from retirement accounts to college funds.

Mises Institute

The notion of a soft landing, as the historical record reflects, is a recurring pledge by the Fed to gently ease the economy from a state of exuberance to equilibrium without triggering a full-blown recession. Yet, as McMaken asserts, the Federal Reserve is not merely failing in this endeavor—it is willfully propagating a falsehood. Evidence suggests that the Fed recognizes the signs of impending economic downturns early on, often cutting interest rates in anticipation of job losses while simultaneously assuring the public of the economy's robustness.

This pattern of misdirection was starkly visible during the recessions of 1991, 2001, and 2008, when figures like Greenspan and Bernanke maintained public assurances of financial stability up until the inevitable collapse. The rationale behind the Fed's duplicity is rooted in its primary function: to provide cheap financing for the government and Wall Street. The Fed's role in fostering inflation and boom-bust cycles is a byproduct of its central mission, which has escalated to dire levels as the U.S. government is set to issue $11 trillion in debt this year.

Mises Institute

The current financial paradigm, fueled by low borrowing costs essential for congressional and Wall Street interests, is sustained by the Fed's manipulation. The promise of a soft landing is thus not only improbable but antithetical to the institution's modus operandi. Proposals for reform, such as refocusing the Fed on a single mandate to protect the dollar's value and forcing banks to be self-sufficient, confront a deeply entrenched financial system resistant to change.

Without a fundamental overhaul of the central banking system, a monetary crisis may be the only catalyst for genuine reform. As the markets continue to wager on the myth of a soft landing, the reality of the Federal Reserve's historical track record and vested interests suggests a turbulent path ahead.


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