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Fed Should Do Less, Not More, to Avert Another Calamity

Inevitably, all that money will push up inflation, and then the Fed will be compelled to stop buying bonds and let interest rates rise to levels the federal and state governments can't bear easily.

The federal and state governments will be forced into draconian spending cuts in the manner of Italy or Spain, corporations and state governments will default on many of their lower-grade securities, and higher mortgage rates will drive down real estate and agricultural land values, creating a new round of mortgage defaults. Former students overburdened with debt won't be able to manage daily living expenses and simply will default.

Financial markets will collapse, again!

This calamity will be worse than the last, because much of the middle class's residual wealth -- retirement and savings accounts and other assets -- will be dissipated and federal spending will be contracting not expanding.

By late spring, the Congress and president will likely raise taxes or cut spending without addressing the fundamental structural problems bedeviling the economy.

That could easily instigate another recession, and the Fed will be pressured to enable more Congressional procrastination on structural issues, and President Obama will set his sights on replacing Ben Bernanke with an even more compliant Fed chairman.

It might be better to take a second recession now than face the kind of calamity in real estate and financial markets that is brewing, and for the Fed to resist calls to do more.

That would require a lot of courage from Ben Bernanke. If he doesn't try to avert another immediate recession the President and Congress seem bent on instigating, he will be vilified.

Yet, sooner rather than later, Mr. Bernanke must speak truth to facts, or leave his successor an even bigger pending crisis than he managed.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.
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