You don't get a headline much more out of step with the Sumner critique than this do you? This is a direct quote however:
"Research shows how Fed efforts have yielded uneven results. A 2010 study by Paul Willen, a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Andreas Fuster, a New York Fed economist, found the Fed's mortgage purchase program in 2008 and 2009 led to a tidal wave of refinancing, but mostly by households with superior credit records."
"You want the money to go to people for whom credit is an issue, and those are exactly the people to whom credit isn't going," Mr. Willen said. "Monetary policy is having no effect on the vast majority of people."
Of course this is because for Bernanke's Fed the tramission mechanism is the credit channel-getting credit to people who need it not those who already have plenty of it. Yet:
"Mr. Hordan doesn't need the money to buy things. His electronic test equipment business has annual revenues of roughly $1 million and he could easily pay off his mortgage with savings, he said. But why bother? Borrowed money is cheap—his mortgage rate is 3.875%—and there are tax benefits for paying mortgage interest. Instead of retiring his mortgage, he is investing the money."
"If you don't need the money, you can get it all day long," he said. "Thank you, Ben Bernanke."
So monetary policy is having no effect for the vast majority of people though those who don't need it thank Bernanke. Here's what a bondholder is saying:
"Even though we have the greatest monetary policy stimulus in the history of the Fed, we really have not managed to lower the funding costs for a large swath of people," said David Zervos, a bond strategist with Jefferies Inc., a Wall Street investment bank. He called Fed efforts "monetary policy for rich people."
Yes Sumner of course would push back on the idea that we have the greatest monetary policy stimulus in history but remember this is a comparative claim-in the history of the Fed. And Sumner sees the transmission mechanism differently let's just say. Him and Nick Rowe see talk of a transmission mechanism as an overly "hydraulic" understanding of monetary policy. However, Bernanke clearly sees it in "Concrete Steppes." The main steppe being the credit channel.
"This is a big limitation on the potential effects of monetary policy," Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said in an interview last month. "Normally we'd have a very large refinance boom. People would be able to trade in their high-interest-rate mortgage for lower ones and their mortgage payment would go down. That would put more spending power in the hands of anybody in a position to do that. That would increase aggregate demand. That is the way it is supposed to work."
"The Fed's interest rate lever, Mr. Evans said, is a blunt instrument."
This is one reason the GOP hates Bernanke-the already did but he really got their goat earlier with his white paper that called for mortgage relief and help.