Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Ben Bernanke

The World is Waiting for Jackson Hole

Liar Ben Bernanke

Liar Ben Bernanke (Photo credit: Ondrej Kloucek)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to give his annual Jackson Hole speech on August 31 while the world waits in anticipation. They are likely to be disappointed.

In past years the invitation-only event hosted by the Kansas City Fed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has been an opportunity for Bernanke to suggest future Fed policy actions. In 2010 he said that a second round of stimulus—called QE2 for Quantitative Easing Round Two—was likely, and in November of that year the Fed began its purchase of another $600 billion of long-term debt securities.

Since then little has changed: Unemployment remains significantly above eight percent, the housing market remains largely moribund, gross domestic product remains barely positive, and consumer confidence is waning.

Some investors are expecting nothing but a repeat of Bernanke’s talk in Jackson Hole last August when he said: “The Federal Reserve will certainly do all that it can to help restore high rates of growth and employment” but “most of the economic policies that support economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank.”

Which was a banker’s way of saying, “We’re

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Halting Steps Towards a Gold-Backed Currency

Chris Poindexter: Slow Week For Gold

The world is crying out for some of type of encrypted token or bearer receipt that can be traded for physical gold.  Where the physical inventory matches the encrypted tokens at a rate of 100 percent and can be redeemed at a fixed margin for physical gold or cash on demand in various cities around the world. Some countries might consider that a competing currency, but as long as receipts are denominated in fixed amounts of gold and not currency values, that should avoid most complications; it’s really just a new way to trade commodities.

English: Currencies exchange logo Français : L...

English: Currencies exchange logo Français : Logo symbolisant le change de devises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While Poindexter is writing for his “gold bug” customers about the price of gold and silver and how the ratio between the two—a very high 59—bodes well for silver purchasers, he makes an excellent side comment about how the free market will eventually revert back to real money, a gold-backed currency.

Ben Bernanke doesn’t recognize silver or gold as real money, which is about as good an indicator you can find that it is! If he’s for it, it’s wise to be against it, and vice versa. It saves a lot of thinking because the man has been so consistently wrong for so long. His response to Ron Paul’s question about whether silver and gold is real money is instructive: “No.”

There are barter currencies in existence now and I’ve written about them. There are local and regional currencies backed by, in some places, maple syrup! No, I’m not making this up! I’m not that clever!

But that’s how we moved from a direct exchange economy—goods for goods—to an indirect exchange economy—goods for money for goods—which helped the world’s GDP to grow by an astonishing 2 percent per year ever since about 1800.

And as the dollar continues to lose value, people will find that other options are going to work better—much better—than paper money that doesn’t maintain its value. I’m not afraid of hyperinflation, mind you. The Fed would never allow that to happen because it would threaten its very existence. But what it will allow is “some” inflation—Gary North thinks in the range of 20 to 30 percent annually—which will serve nicely to generate increasing demands for money that retains its value.

I’m encouraged by Poindexter’s comments. He sees further than I do on this issue. And I welcome that.

Ron Paul Has the Final Say

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 29:  Republican pres...

In his last public opportunity to quiz Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who appeared before the House Financial Services Committee on July 18, Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took the time to put things into perspective:

For the past few years the Federal Reserve System has received criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, and rightly so, for its unprecedented intervention into the economy and its bailouts of large Wall Street banks and foreign central banks.

This has been Paul’s theme ever since he entered Congress following a special election in April 1976. In a position paper that his staff prepared in June of 1976, Paul attacked a pending bill in Congress to fund the International Monetary Fund following the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement when President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971.

The staffer primarily responsible for that paper, Gary North, remembers starting work on Friday, June 11, 1976, and being given the task of preparing the paper in time for the Monday deadline. He worked all weekend on it, and when it was published, it made such an impression on Senator William Proxmire, then chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, that he invited Paul to testify before his committee. Says North: “At the time, I had never heard of a House member testifying to a Senate Committee. I have never heard of it since.”

But that testimony launched a three-decades-long campaign by that lone congressman to question the existing monetary system, especially the centerpiece of that system, the Federal Reserve.

In his July 18 testimony, Paul recalled his primary problem with the IMF—the same problem he has with the Fed—is that it is a central bank that was deliberately designed to

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Feisty, Fearless Economist Anna Schwartz Dead at 96

Anna Schwartz by David Shankbone

Best known as the co-author, along with Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Freidman, of A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, Anna Jacobson Schwartz died on Thursday, June 21, in New York City at age 96.

A brilliant economist in her own right, she provided the background, the research, and so much of the thinking behind the 859-page A Monetary History that Friedman claimed that “Anna did all the work, and I got most of the recognition.” Considered by many classical economists as the magnum opus on monetary policy (the impact of money supply on economic behavior), by itself it shifted the blame for the Great Depression from the statists’ claim that it was due to excessive laissez-faire capitalism in the 1920s to the interventions by the Federal Reserve that caused the Great Depression and that greatly exacerbated both its depth and duration. So powerful were the conclusions that one of the book’s chapters, “The Great Contraction, 1929-33,” was published as a stand-alone paperback in 1965, and the book itself was hailed by the Cato Institute as one of the most influential economics books of the 20th century. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that A Monetary History “transformed the debate about the Great Depression.”

Accolades abounded following the announcement of her passing, even from those who parted ways with her on the role of central banking in a modern economy and the Federal Reserve in particular. George Selgin, a senior fellow at Cato, remembers Schwartz as being candid and uncompromising: “Anna never held a punch, and when she threw one, it landed square on target.” Robert Higgs, a scholar at the Independent Institute, noted, 

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Congressional Budget Office Predicts Recession

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 26:  The Congressional Bu...

The latest report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released on Tuesday said that if the country falls off the “fiscal cliff”—variously also called “taxmageddon”—it will likely enter a new recession. With the ending of the Bush-era tax cuts, the termination of extended unemployment benefits, the reimposition of the payroll tax rates back up to 6.2 percent from the current 4.2 percent, and the “sequester” cuts in government spending demanded by the agreement that Congress hammered out last summer in order to raise the debt ceiling, the CBO predicts that the country’s Gross National Product (GNP) will go negative for at least two quarters, which is the classic definition of a recession.

But, adds the CBO, if Congress does nothing, the longer-term benefits could be significant: a lowering of the annual deficit by about $600 billion in the first year, and lower deficits in the out years. This would reduce the danger of spiraling interest costs on the $16.4-trillion national debt along with a lower risk of further credit downgrades of the government debt by various rating services. In other words, according to the CBO: pain now or pain later.

If, as is likely, the Congress just simply sits on its hands and waits until after the November election or January 20 when the next Congress takes over, the problem just gets worse. As the CBO notes: 

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Speech: Bernanke Fails at Transparency, Rails at Gold Standard

M6 - Money

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke donned his professorial cap and addressed 30 undergraduate students at George Washington University on Tuesday, he claimed it was all in the interest of transparency. According to the New York Times, “The Fed is concerned that it is neither loved nor understood by many Americans, and that public anger could lead to constraints on its powers.”

A close look at his actual presentation, augmented by slides, confirms his attempt to direct the students’ attention away from the Fed’s obvious dangers, faults, and failures and instead concentrate on its alleged virtues.

For example, his attack on the gold standard was filled with falsehoods and half-truths that failed to convince, only to confuse:

The gold standard as an alternative to a central bank: The gold standard sets the money supply and [the] price level generally with limited central bank intervention.

What the professor fails to state is that there is the gold standard and there is a paper standard that can only be enforced when a central bank is given a monopoly over what citizens may use as money. He fails to make clear that it’s the quantity of gold that “sets the money supply” and from that is derived the value of each piece, which is reflected in its purchasing power in the marketplace. It’s the citizen, freely accepting, using and exchanging gold for goods and services in the marketplace, who sets the price level. Buried in the comment “with limited central bank intervention” is the core of the problem: Bernanke doesn’t want people making those choices and decisions for themselves. Those decisions must be left to experts like

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Bernanke Befuddled

Ben Bernanke

In a moment of unexpected and unsettling candor, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, in his testimony on Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee, said that he really doesn’t know what’s happening to the economy. In his best professorial manner and without blinking an eye, the chairman said, “In light of somewhat different signals received recently from the labor market than from indicators of final demand and production…it will be especially important to evaluate incoming information to assess the underlying pace of the economic recovery.”

Admitting that the labor market is “far from normal” made it clear that he was uncertain about what “normal” actually means. With the same number of people working (about 130 million) today as were working 10 years ago (with a much smaller population) the new normal may be different from whatever the chairman might perceive it to be. Part of the problem is in the counting and part is in the vast technological improvements that have permanently replaced low-level workers.

When it comes to counting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has difficulty in keeping score, noting two primary indicators of unemployment: U3 and U6. U3 is more politically palatable as it is lower than U6. U6 may be more realistic, however, as it counts not only people out of work but also those working part-time who would rather be working fulltime, along with those discouraged and not looking at all.

Despite being unsure of what all the “somewhat different signals” really mean, Bernanke was ready to predict the future: “With output growth in 2012 projected to remain close to its longer-run trend [a weak 2.3- to 2.6-percent annual growth in the economy], FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee which Bernanke chairs and rules] does not anticipate further substantial declines in the unemployment rate over the course of the year.”

He also predicted that despite the enormous bout of monetary stimulus employed allegedly to reinvigorate the moribund economy, inflation would

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Fed’s “Independence” Threatened by Bernanke?

English: A frame from a screencast from the US...

With the publishing of a “white paper” about the housing market, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has rankled some Republicans that suggestions made appear to have transgressed some line of propriety that separates monetary policy, fiscal policy, and the Fed’s “independence.”

The study, prepared by his staff and signed by the chairman, decried the inability of the housing market to get back on its feet despite continued efforts by both Congress and the Fed to restart it. Bernanke wrote:

The challenge for policymakers is to find ways to help reconcile the existing size and mix of the housing stock and the current environment for housing finance. Fundamentally, such measures involve adapting the existing housing stock to the prevailing tight mortgage lending conditions—for example, devising policies that could help facilitate the conversion of foreclosed properties to rental properties—or supporting a housing finance regime that is less restrictive than today’s, while steering clear of the lax standards that emerged during the last decade. Absent any policies to help bridge this gap, the adjustment process will take longer and incur more deadweight losses, pushing house prices lower and thereby prolonging the downward pressure on the wealth of current homeowners and the resultant drag on the economy at large.

This crossed the line, according to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who wrote a scathing letter to the Fed chairman: “I worry that…your…housing white paper…treads too far into fiscal policy, and runs the risk of being perceived as advocacy for

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The Best Way Back to a Gold Standard

Dollar versus DOW

In his Forbes magazine article published Thursday, Nathan Lewis makes it sound easy to get back to a gold standard. After all, it has been accomplished numerous times in history around the world, including in America following the Civil War.

The first way is a “return to prior parity,” which would mean making a dollar redeemable in gold at $35 an ounce. Lewis points out that this would be impossible as it would entail a huge shrinkage in the money supply and a consequent depression. So option one is out.

The second way is to make a dollar redeemable in gold at a figure close to gold’s current price at between $1,500 and $1,700 an ounce. Lewis notes that this would also require a major restructuring—“a long price adjustment”—in his words, and “would probably cause a recession.” Not such a good option.

Lewis says there is a third option:

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Bernanke Defensive as the Fed Loses its Luster

Protest against the Federal Reserve during eve...

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference on November 2 included the admission that the Fed is depending on hope and patience to see if its continuing strategies of Operation Twist and zero interest rates will grow the economy out of recession. In his session with reporters, Bernanke defended Fed actions in the face of increasing criticism from both the left and the right.

Three years after the Federal Reserve’s massive and continuing interventions in the financial markets, Bernanke was forced to admit that “recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions and the unemployment rate remains elevated…and consequently [the Fed] anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually…. Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook.” He added that “we did underestimate the pace of recovery for some fundamental reasons,” including the continuing declines in the real estate markets and “a certain amount of bad luck.”

Bernanke was forced to reduce further his estimates about the rate of

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Bernanke’s Last Two Economy-Boosting Tools

Tools

Image via Wikipedia

In his talk on Thursday to the Economic Club of Minneapolis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned the Congressional Supercommittee not to cut government spending by too much, and that if the economy continues to slide into another recession, the Fed has tools to meet the challenge.

Speaking over the heads of his audience directly to the Supercommittee, Bernanke warned that

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Bernanke’s Invisible QE3 and the Austrian School

Wall Street

Image via Wikipedia

Wall Street professionals’ expectations are modest over Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s highly anticipated remarks at the Jackson Hole symposium this Friday. Unlike last year when the chairman announced the start of his program to purchase government securities in order to keep the economy from slipping into a recession and possibly deflation, known as Quantitative Easing II (QE2), his options now are much more limited. The anticipated bounce in the economy has fizzled, inflation is increasing, the banks are stuffed full of reserves but few are borrowing, and interest rates

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The Fed: QE3 is All but Certain

DSC_1334

Image by The UpTake via Flickr

The latest report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System confirms what every sentient being already knows: The economy is in the dumper, with little improvement expected. The report used words like “considerably slower,” “deterioration,” “flattened out,” “weak,” and “depressed” to describe current conditions, and it even noted that excuses such as bad weather and the earthquake in Japan “appear[ed] to account for only some of the current weakness in economic activity.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, the Board had a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) and

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Why is Gold Over $1700 an Ounce?

A London Good Delivery bar, the standard for t...

Image via Wikipedia

With gold bouncing up from $1,668 an ounce on Friday, August 5 to $1,778 on Tuesday, August 9, it was the biggest three-day rally since the start of the great recession in 2008. At the same time, the equities markets were falling precipitously, losing over 600 points on the Dow on Monday alone. What is the connection?

The easy answer is fear, loss of confidence, and

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Looking for Green Shoots in the Economy

Cracked Mud Texture

Image by Darren Hester via Flickr

Just a month ago one of the most accurate economic forecasters on the planet looked at the economy and concluded that another recession is 99 percent certain.

David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff, a Canadian private money management firm, noted at the time that consumers were still trying to reduce their debt load, which reduces their ability to purchase consumer goods and services. That continued reduction in demand is being felt all across the economy with no end in sight:

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Fed Insiders Selling Inside Information

Modern-day meeting of the Federal Open Market ...

Image via Wikipedia

In an effort to plug leaks at the Federal Reserve, the U.S.’s central bank issued a statement yesterday that members of the Federal Open Market Committee “will refrain” from sharing insider information “with any individual, firm, or organization who could profit financially from…that information.”

Since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913, its operations and decision-making processes have been deliberately opaque. In the 1990s the minutes of its policy meetings weren’t made public for

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Bernanke: No Economic Recovery Yet; Diesel Index Confirms It

Big Rig stopped on the 405

Image by mseery via Flickr

In what could be one of the understatements of 2011, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at the International Monetary Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, remarked, “U.S. economic growth so far this year looks to have been somewhat slower than expected…. A number of indicators also suggest some loss of momentum in the labor market.” A number of those indicators were reviewed here and every one of them showed weakness in the economy. However, each of them suffers from a critical disadvantage: They are backward-looking indicators, or “rear-view mirror” views of the economy. None of them is “real-time,” giving a true picture of the economy at that moment in time. As a result, Bernanke left his audience with glittering generalities and modest hopes for the future:

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The Economy Also Weakens Obama’s Reelection Hopes

Obama leaves the stage

Image by rob.rudloff via Flickr

The trickle of bad news about the economy has turned into a torrent, and is now threatening Barack Obama’s chances at reelection. On Wednesday the Institute for Supply Management issued its manufacturing index, which was expected to rise. Instead, it fell, to 53.5, perilously close to the edge of recession in manufacturing. John Silva, an economist at Wells Fargo, was blunt:

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Insider Scoffs at Default Concerns, Blasts Geithner, Bernanke

Barack Obama and Timothy Geithner

Image by Downing Street via Flickr

Although Monday, May 16th is the day the financial world was supposed to end as the federal government’s spending hit the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) announced that he was able to put off that day of reckoning until August 2nd. In a letter to Congress, Geithner said that by borrowing from a pension fund belonging to federal workers and from an emergency fund set up to “help deal with foreign financial crises” coupled with slightly higher tax revenues than expected, he is able to stave off the inevitable until

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High Gas Prices Set to Cause Double Dip Recession

Fuel Guage

Image by smemon87 via Flickr

“I’m sure the rising cost of energy is bothering the market,” said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D. A. Davidson & Company last week. “I do think the uptick in gasoline prices will have an impact on consumer spending in the next few quarters.”

One could scarcely call it an “uptick,” with gasoline prices up by $.70 a gallon since the first of the year, and approaching $4 a gallon. The American Automobile Association said at that level consumers “will have to start cutting back to pay their fuel expenses. This could adversely affect restaurants, malls, and entertainment venues that count on people driving to get there.”

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann