The New York Times bestselling business journalist Christopher Leonard infiltrates one of America’s most mysterious institutions—the Federal Reserve—to show how its policies spearheaded by Chairman Jerome Powell over the past ten years have accelerated income inequality and put our country’s economic stability at risk.
You don’t ordinarily turn to a book about the Federal Reserve for comedy, and for the most part Christopher Leonard’s The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy stays true to its genre. Mr. Leonard does, however, include one pointedly humorous moment that sheds light on so much of his subject matter ... Mr. Leonard, an investigative journalist, so skillfully tells the story of how, over several decades, a phalanx of economic sophisticates at the Fed have badly misunderstood the U.S. economy and often come up with policies that fail to produce the intended results ... Mr. Hoenig was often portrayed in the media as a monetary hawk for his ornery votes against expanded Fed interventions. Mr. Leonard offers a more nuanced view ... Mr. Leonard’s other hero is John Feltner ... Stories such as Mr. Feltner’s are too often presented as morality tales about corporate greed. Mr. Leonard refreshingly explains the precise policy incentives at work.
While the subject matter is tough slogging for those without a background in higher economics, Leonard strives to present the issues clearly but without oversimplification, and the patient reader will gain a greater understanding of economic issues that are affecting everyone’s lives.
Leonard shrewdly dissects the policy wrangles roiling the Fed behind its facade of technocratic consensus—he presents a sharp riposte to glowing accounts of former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s leadership—while offering a trenchant analysis of how the Fed controls and misshapes the economy. The result is a timely and persuasive challenge to the Fed’s new economic orthodoxy.