Seth Klarman recently released his third quarter letter for Baupost. The normally reserved hedge fund manager was highly critical of the Federal Reserve.
"Finally, we must question the morality of Fed programs that trick people (as if they were Pavlov's dogs) into behaviors that are adverse to their own long-term best interest. What kind of government entity cajoles savers to spend, when years of under-saving and overspending have left the consumer in terrible shape? What kind of entity tricks its citizens into paying higher and higher prices to buy stocks? What kind of entity drives the return on retirees' savings to zero for seven years (2008-2015 and counting) in order to rescue poorly managed banks? Not the kind that should play this large a role in the economy."
Indeed there have been immediate consequences to the ZIRP policy. Insurance companies in particular have most likely taken risky bets in order to generate yield. Similarly, pension funds have been forced into the equity market as the bond market returns are so paltry.
It appears as though Klarman is in agreement with Nassim Taleb about the necessity of failure within the financial system.
"An environment where financial crises are seen to be a regular part of the landscape is one where people might actually take more precautions. People would maintain a margin of safety in all their decisions. Investment and otherwise, regulations would be well thought out and diligently enforced, and the unscrupulous and the incompetent would quickly fail and disappear from the scene. Modern day attempts to abolish failure only serve to ensure it, as moral hazard-- the likelihood that people's behavior changes in response to artificial supports or guarantees-- surges. Attempts to prevent or wish away future crises only make them more likely. Only by allowing, even welcoming, episodic failure do we have a chance of reducing the likelihood and magnitude' of future financial crises."
In other words, the FED has engineered an environment that is highly conducive to Black Swan type of events.