U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did what most everyone expected yesterday (Wednesday) at the culmination of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day meeting - he left average Americans vulnerable to the pangs of higher prices and soaring inflation.
Indeed, as yet another FOMC meeting drew to a close without any significant policy changes, the central bank, as many predicted, kept interest rates at 0% to 0.25%, where they've been since December 2008.
And citing weaker than expected economic growth, the FOMC vowed to remain in an "accommodative stance" by retaining its huge $2.832 trillion portfolio of securities and loans.
The Fed will do this by using the money from maturing bonds and principal payments from its securities holdings to buy more bonds "according to a distribution that is nearly identical to that executed under the Treasury purchase program," according to the New York Fed statement - an extension of the quantitative easing (QE2) program in all but name.
Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald saw this "stealth mode" QE3 coming.
"Instead of printing more money, the Fed is likely to start reinvesting the proceeds of maturing debt," Fitz-Gerald said. "Ultimately, that won't reduce our government's bloated, toxic balance sheet. But it will change the makeup of that balance sheet - and not for the better."