Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Money Printing: Ranking of Fed Chairmen since 1918

In January 1918, the U.S. Money Base was USD 5.5 billion. Today the money base is USD 2.6133 trillion (as of October). The total increase in the money base during the period was USD 2.6078 trillion. This is a total increase of 47363%, which equates to 0.54% per month (geometric average). During this 94 year period, 13 chairmen of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve held office (see here).

In the table below these Chairmen of the Fed have been "ranked" according to the average monthly percentage change in the money base during their tenure (calculated as total percentage change in the money base during time in office divided by the number of months in office).

It should come as little surprise that Ben Bernanke, the current chairman, holds the No.1 spot for printing money at the fastest pace. Since commencing office in February 2006 he has increased the money base from USD 804.7 billion to USD 2.6133 trillion, a total percentage increase of 224.8%. On a monthly basis, this averages out at 2.775% (arithmetic average). In 2nd place is Mariner S. Eccles, who held office during the period 1934 to 1948, followed by Eugene R. Black (1933-1934) and of course, Alan Greenspan (1987-2006). Only one chairman has actually reduced the money base since 1918, namely Roy A. Young (1927-1930).

See also the U.S. Debt-to-GDP ratio and President Track Records for a ranking of presidents and how they affected the Debt/GDP ratio while in office.

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