In his influential Interest Rate Observer, the American pundit James Grant lamented that QE2 was "the start of a new adventure in money printing". Like many monetary conservatives of the backwoods persuasion, he praised gold for its ability to retain its real value despite the printing presses and other iniquities of the modern world. In Britain, Liam Halligan of Prosperity Capital Management has expressed similar views in the Sunday Telegraph, although his wrath goes back to the Bank of England's embrace of QE in March 2009. In his words, quantitative easing is "a polite, yet intellectually dishonest name for ‘money printing'".Halligan didn't take to kindly to that, and after larding Congdon with compliments says this,
So I like and admire Tim Congdon. But I think he is wrong about QE – dead wrong. Reading his latest article, I also sense that, with public concerns mounting, and given the outrage sparked by the latest attempts of Ben Bernanke to launch QE2, a $600bn (£387bn) expansion of the Federal Reserve's original programme, he knows he is losing the argument.Normally this sort of debate continues in its slightly arcane fashion back and forth, but Congdon has, quite literally upped the stakes,
I will pay Halligan any figure he cares to mention up to £100,000 if the increase in RPIY in the two years from March 2011 is 6.1% or more higher than the increase in RPIY in the two years from March 2009. Halligan will pay me the same figure (i.e., the figure up to £100,000), if the increase in RPIY in the two year from March 2011 is 6.0% or less than the increase in RPIY in the two years from March 2009.’All rather fun,
Will Halligan take up the wager and for a decent sum of money? Well, let’s see.