Jan 17, 2014

Skinny Amends

I keep putting off a moral obligation: apologizing to Ben Bernanke. The tanked United States economy is not totally his fault. He's a tool, a dupe if you will, like some guy who tugs his forelock and says yassah Master when ordered to modify gravity.

The job of the Fed boss for a century has been to palpate the money supply to promote (a) full employment and (b) stable prices.

Ben, like every other Federal Reserve chairman, is too smart to believe that a doable proposition. But, also like his predecessors, he's perfectly willing to play the game in order to be one of the most powerful men in the world, a status which gets a guy invited to all the best parties with super models and single malt. I'd be tempted myself. So consider this a hemi-semi-demi apology, really tiny.

One trouble is that Ben is personally likable and seems so sincere, even when being more than a little dissimulative. For instance:

Last month, hard money hawks (so to speak) finally persuaded him to reduce the  Kwee 3 production of thin-air money a bit -- from $85 billion a month to $75 billion.

He took a deep breath and pronounced that good, but before he could exhale, his inner Keynes leaped forth.

"But don't worry Mr. President and all you vote-buying thugs in Congress. We're still going to be easy, perhaps even easier. So go cheerfully about your business.  Spend away.  Bike trails and ag subsidies and roads to no where;  idiotic billions to political buddies with a solar dream: farting around in the Third World pretending that we know how to build other nations; creating regulations costing ten bucks to administer for every 37 cents in benefits, if that much. Whatever will make the unwashed voter love you." 

(How? HIs Fed promises to keep fiat money gushing by some level of Kweeing, plus interest rates effectively zero for a long, long time -- probably through the first Chelsea administration, at least.)

Would it help if more of us became a little more focused  on Econ 101 as presented by someone other than Paul Samuelson?

Price stability depends on many things, but above all on money stability; that is,  a person should have reasonable confidence that the five-dollar bill in his pocket today will also buy a pound of bacon next year. Lacking that belief, he'll go immediately to Starbucks and piss it away while studying food stamp eligibility rules on his G4 phone.

Full employment depends on a population making, buying, and selling things. Their ability to do so depends in large part on greedy capitalists who somehow get some money and gamble it on factories, drug stores, farms, distilleries, and gas stations. Every man and woman in the mix must have an ordinarily decent character and diligence -- plus an expectation that his wages and profits as measured in money will hold their value, or nearly so.

Excessive taxes discourage that sort of diligence and willingness to take risks, but  currency inflation can make confiscatory taxes seem like a comparative angel kiss.

Ben won't publicly address basics like that, but, as I say, the perks of being a perceived Midas are compelling, so on a strictly personal level, I understand, Sir. Therefore I formally offer my apology for five years of verbally abusing you, an apology heart felt but so wee and flat as to be almost imperceptible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get the joke, but couldn't you find a picture of Jane Greer or something? 8-)

John of the GMA