Debate Over Fed's QE3 Effects Could Go On For Years

The Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, which has been winding down all year, ended Wednesday. Don't expect agreement on whether it worked.

Debate Over Fed's QE3 Effects Could Go On For Years
Getty Images / Win McNamee

Quantitative Easing, we hardly knew ye. And by that I mean most people had no clue what it was.

The Federal Reserve's controversial bond-buying program, meant to help shore up the market in the wake of 2008's financial crash, has come to a close. 

The Feds' leaders, the Open Market Committee, have been winding down the program all year and say "solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate" helped factor into the decision to close the program altogether.

The program was always controversial and was often called a "great experiment" because nothing like it had been tried before. So the question economists will be asking for years to come is, "Did the experiment work?"

ADAM POSEN VIA BBC: "It wasn't enough to save everything. It never was supposed to be. But it prevented the worst outcomes from happening."

CHARLIE GASPARINO VIA FOX BUSINESS: "If you think of the one thing that caused the wealth gap to expand rapidly, it's Obama-nomics failing the middle class and it's the Fed just juicing the stock markets."

JACK BOUROUDJIAN VIA CNBC: "What Janet Yellin and what this Fed have been doing is absolutely wonderful. They have been able to maneuver their way through this cycle and they've been doing it with, what, low inflation, they're starting to create jobs."

As Vox points out, it'll be hard to tell whether and to what degree QE actually affected the economy, in part because its effects are mostly indirect. Plus, people are still arguing about the effects of monetary policy during the Great Depression.

It should be mentioned that the Fed hasn't stopped its efforts to stimulate the economy. It's still keeping interest rates extremely low and says it will continue to do so for a while.

This video includes images from Getty Images and the U.S. National Archives.