Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fed Critics

"So [Fed] officials are whispering to reporters that they will consider a 'pause' after another interest-rate cut this week. Perhaps we should be more respectful, but this sounds like the alcoholic who tells his wife he'll quit drinking next weekend after one more bender. What Chairman Ben Bernanke needs isn't a gradual withdrawal from easy money but membership in Central Bankers Anonymous. ... Meanwhile, the Fed's decision to open the general monetary spigots has inspired a global commodities boom unlike any seen since the 1970s. ... The popular media explanation is that this price surge is a result of rising global demand, greedy speculators and human profligacy. All of a sudden, without warning, the world is said to be running out of food. ... No doubt commodity traders are having a field day, but what they are speculating on is the Fed's refusal to stop the free-fall of the dollar. ... Just when the U.S. economy needs a resilient consumer given the fall in housing prices, these price increases have eviscerated consumer pocketbooks. In its attempt to help Wall Street and the financial system, Fed policy is punishing average Americans. The public is frustrated and angry with these price increases, and it has a right to be. Inflation is the thief of the thrifty middle class. ... The Fed's problem has been both political and intellectual. Politically, Mr. Bernanke has been unwilling to say no to Wall Street and the Beltway political class, which reflexively demand easier money in a crisis. ... As for the intellectual problem, the Fed and much of Wall Street convinced themselves that the only inflation measure that matters is 'core inflation,' which excludes food an energy", my emphasis, editorial at the WSJ, 28 April 2008.

"The [Fed's] rescue of Bear Stearns Cos. will come to be seen as its 'worst policy mistake in a generation,' a former top Fed staffer said. ... Congress and analysts have deferred to the Fed's judgment. ... [Vincent] Reinhardt said the bailout 'eliminated forever the possibility the Fed could serve as an honest broker.' In 1998, the Fed coaxed private creditors of Long-Term Capital Management to bail out the hedge fund but didn't have to put up its own money. If it ever tries a similar maneuver on a Wall Street cohort, the said, 'The reasonable question any person in the room will ask is, "How much money will you contribute to the solution?''", WSJ, 29 April 2008.

The WSJ is too kind to Helicopter Ben (HB) (1590 SATs). HB ain't stupid. I doubt HB believes as much in the significance of "core inflation" as he does the tooth fairy. I conclude HB believes as I do, core inflation was invented to deceive the public. This is now permeating the MSM. See my 24 April 2008 post citing a Fortune article. I agree with the WSJ, HB lacks the guts to tell Henry Paulson and the inflationists "get lost". HB is Clark Kent, not Superman. Would HB call a press conference to explain to the American public what he is doing, who he is helping and how? No way.

I agree with Reinhardt the Fed bailout was a mistake. However, Bear was not bailed out, the rest of the Street was. Was this mistake more serious than lowering interest rates with the dollar collapsing? More serious than the Greenspan Fed igniting the housing boom? As for asking the question, welcome aboard Reinhardt. What do you think Henry Paulson has pushed for months? Using public funds to bail out Wall Street firms. See my 7 April 2008 post, among others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello ia,

They know what they are doing. The inflation serves as a cover for the looting of America that took place over the last seven years.