Has Anyone Seen the FDIC's Chief Information Officer? He's Missing



Last month, the FDIC put Chief Information Officer Barry West -- who only took the position in November of the year previous -- on leave. As it turns out, he's still MIA.

The Business of Federal Technology (FCW) reports:

Nearly a month after FCW reported that Barry West was not in the office on June 4, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s CIO was still missing from duty.


FDIC spokeswoman Barbara Hagenbaugh confirmed that West had not returned to work as of July 1, and it remains unclear exactly when and why he first went on leave.


Multiple sources in government and industry have told FCW that West is facing an investigation over alleged misconduct in a previous government position. West served as CIO at the National Weather Service, FEMA and the Commerce Department between 2002 and 2007 before leaving federal service on Jan. 1, 2008.

Oh Barry, where are you? Just let us know you're OK dude. Are you at least microchipped so in case if someone finds you running around DC circles as a stray they can scan you and find your way home?

TSA Spokesperson Tweets Passenger's Totally Legal Cash-Filled Bag Because Reasons



When traveling within the domestic United States, I expect my stuff to get rifled through by the TSA. I am prepared for a young TSO to pull out my adult novelties and whip them in the air asking "what is this?!" and I'm prepared for additional screening when below the neck piercings set off certain "what exactly is that you're packing ma'am" alarms.

What I don't expect is for a TSA spokesperson -- whose salary is paid by the very people she so easily mocks via tweet -- to put my shit all over blast on Twitter.

Her bio reads "TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein shares transportation security information and tidbits," which I guess includes the private financial situation of any air traveler unfortunate enough to end up on the wrong side of TSA procedures.
There is absolutely nothing illegal about carrying around $75,000 in cash in an airport as long as you are flying domestically. Nothing. Not one thing. Sure, maybe it is sketchy but so is packing a vibrator next to your laptop, what business is that of the TSA's?

According to the Washington Post, Farbstein said "the carry-on bag of the passenger alarmed because of the large unknown bulk in his carry-on bag. When TSA officers opened the bag to determine what had caused the alarm, the money was sitting inside. Quite unusual. TSA alerted the airport police, who were investigating."

OK. That doesn't explain why you thought it was within your jurisdiction to tweet it out to the entire world, lady.

Now, it's worth noting the cash was seized by an unnamed federal agency, though Richmond International spokesperson Troy Bell told WaPo "I don't believe the person was issued a summons or a citation."

Word to the wise: it might be legal to carry that much cash into the airport but unless you want TSA blasting your business on Twitter and then calling in the authorities to steal it from you, you should probably leave that kind of dough at home.

Thank you, TSA, for your continued diligence in keeping me safe. Can you imagine if that $75,000 had made it onto the plane? Scary.

Whoever Wrote This Bloomberg Headline Is Confused on What "Minority" Means

LOL

So what you're saying is, the minority is now the majority, right? Therefore your headline is shit. Just say "non-white" if that's what you want to say, FFS.

Yay for Gay!



Good job, Supreme Court.

Economy Not Fixed Enough For You? A Little Plague Will Fix That



Is the economy not fixed enough for your taste? Still feeling a little down about low or negative interest rates, global political chaos, lack of opportunity, falling purchasing power and overall economic malaise? Fear not, there's an easy solution to that: plague.

Forgive me, but the link comes from my favorite guilty pleasure, the Daily Mail:
It was the devastating pandemic that wiped out half of medieval Britain’s population.

But the Black Death also had a surprising, and far more cheery, side-effect on our culture. It inadvertently gave rise to the birth of the English pub as we know it today, according to Robert Tombs, professor of history at Cambridge University.

He told an audience at the Chalke Valley History Festival, sponsored by the Daily Mail, how the Black Death, or bubonic plague, which reached this country in 1348 and killed millions, was followed by a period of higher wages and a boom in the brewing industry as British resilience shone through.

So you see, all we need is for half of the population to die off and VOILA, all our problems are solved. This would also eliminate a ton of debt, as there's no possible way for anyone to pay their student loans or credit cards if they've collapsed in a pile of boils and dead. So, there's that added benefit.

‘The unparalleled trauma left surprisingly few visible traces,’ he said. ‘Subjected to unimaginable horror, people carried on, and so the disaster was survived.

This resilience even created the opportunity for greater freedom and prosperity.’ Wages rose and prices fell, and the purchasing power of working people hit a new high.

Real incomes shot up by 250 per cent between 1300 and 1450, he said, and reached a level by 1500 that would not be permanently exceeded until the 1880s.

250%? Can you even imagine it? We as modern, toilet-flushing, plague-free Americans need $470.90 to purchase the same item that cost $20 in 1915.

Sure, things were way different back in 1300. And 1450. And 1500. And the 1880s. But you get the point.

Maybe all we need to dig our way out of this economic hole we're in isn't for the Fed to implode the economy by growing a pair and pulling out of unprecedented economic life support but plague, rats and all. Big, big rats. And crumbling infrastructure that barely supports sanitation and public health. Oh wait, we have that last one. So yeah, just rats.

Forgive Me For Making Sense But the Confederate Flag Isn't Why Racism is a Problem in America



So, some nutjob gunned down 9 churchgoers in South Carolina the other day as I'm sure most of you heard. That's tragic. What's more tragic is that the focus is now on pulling down Confederate flags instead of addressing the fact that 9 people fucking died. Truth is, the fucker would have snapped with or without a flag, so why the hell is everyone so fixated on the damn flag?

Here's the thing -- you know what a flag is? A piece of fabric, strung together in some kind of recognizable pattern. Like the very dollar bills you have in your wallet now worth some arbitrary amount simply because we all are under the collective delusion that a piece of paper (or cotton/linen mix as is the case in the good ole US of A) with numbers on it is "worth" the numbers printed on its face.

Internet vigilantes (sometimes confused with "activists" or "people who actually do something when they aren't attaching to the news item of the day") are, understandably, taking a strong position on this whole flag thing, as Gizmodo reports:

Widespread anger that the Confederate flag still flew in South Carolina’s state capital, Columbia, reached a boiling point after US and South Carolina state flags were lowered to half-mast in the wake of the killings. But not the Confederate flag, which is padlocked into place.

While the growing movement began on social media, it was galvanized by a searing article in The Atlantic by Te-Nehisi Coates, “Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now,” that has since been shared more than 300,000 times on Facebook. Coates wrote:
The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it.

What's sad to me is that it takes some nut kid killing 9 people to get a bunch of Internet warriors worked into a lather about a flag. As if, somehow, the flag made the kid do it. Did the flag give him a gun? Did it breed him, "nurture" him, and tell him to go into that church that day and kill those people? Had the flag never existed, would he have done it in the first place? Those questions are all rhetorical. Without the Confederate flag, he would have likely still grown up to be a sick racist, and would have still killed those poor innocent people in that church that day. So why are so many stuck on that flag?

This country has an awful history. I walk along memorials marked "Richmond Slave Trail" every day when I'm working out. Slave Trail! Like hey, either we bury that shit like it never existed or, you know, we put some markers in the sidewalk and acknowledge it -- whatever we do, the fact remains that it happened and we should be ashamed of it.

Some could argue our own American flag -- the one our servicemembers fight for, the one we hold in such high regard, the one that stands for everything we believe in like freedom and opportunity and fuck yeah America -- stands for racism. Because what did we do to the very people who inhabited our great land before we got here? Oh right.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Confederate flag should fly over any state capital any more than I think my panties should fly up a state capital flagpole. But this is America, and one thing we have is the freedom to be who we are, even if who we are is a racist piece of shit, as long as it doesn't infringe on someone else's right to live their life.

If a fellow American wants to fly a giant Confederate flag off the back of their jacked up Ford F150, what do I care? I'm sorry you have a small penis and are obsessed with a war the South lost long before you were born but whatever, do what you want as long as you don't hurt people.

Are we going to let one pathetic, broken, twisted person take away what makes this country great? Are we really that petty, that misguided, that divided as a country to put all our focus on a piece of fabric rather than what broke this sick fuck in the first place?

It's time to get real, America. Either you want freedom or you don't. Freedom includes the right to be a racist piece of shit (as long as you don't infringe on anyone else's right to exist, also be racist, etc) and the flag you're so upset about falls under that. As John Oliver says, it's just an easy way to tell if you're a racist asshole. Stop focusing on the damn flag and look around.

The Fed Affirms Its Commitment to Being a Punk Ass Little Bitch




You have to give the easy money whores some credit (haha credit, get it?!), at least they are committed to their punk ass bitchness. From the FOMC statement released yesterday:

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress--both realized and expected--toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term.

The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions. 

No worries, y'all, we can wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.

Now Billionaires Can Rot Away in a Luxury Underground Vault When Doomsday Comes


Those of you who have enjoyed the Fallout franchise as I have are likely going to think the same thing I did when I heard about the Vivos Europa One -- a 76 acre, nuclear-proof, underground compound reserved for a handpicked group of "lucky" filthy rich folks.

Hmm, where have I seen an idea like this before? OH RIGHT.


Now, if we learned anything from Fallout, it's that underground micro societies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland are a terrible idea. You're better off fighting your way through mutated ants and dirty drug-fueled punks than rotting away in a "secure" vault.

But some of us are used to luxury and therefore will demand such in the event of global anarchy, widespread bioterrorism attacks, or even collision with the mysterious and probably unlikely Planet X. That's where Vivos comes in.

Forget dingy common rooms and rusty toilets like we see in Fallout, Vivos Europa One is the real deal.


Who doesn't want to relax and catch some fluorescent rays poolside? You won't even realize the world is going to shit above you!

Vivos already has a "budget" bunker in Indiana that boasts "tasteful" furnishings, geothermal heating and cooling, full size showers and bathrooms, ATVs, and a theater. It claims the bunker is set up for a year of autonomous survival -- after that, someone's going to have to pop a Rad-X and head out into the heat if you know what I'm saying.

If being stuck with a bunch of strangers in a vault doesn't sound like your idea of a good post-apocalyptic party, Vivos can also supply you with your own personal shelter in a box, which you can DIY in a couple weekends on your own property! Boy, would I love to see that on Pinterest Fail.

Here's a little more on the new bunker in Germany from Forbes:

Additionally, the shelter will include a collection of zoological species, an archive for the most precious artifacts and treasures of the world, a DNA Vault to preserve and protect the genomes of millions of donors, and a modern day “Hall of Records”, to autonomously survive virtually any catastrophe or disaster for several years. Vivos will retrofit, equip, furnish, stock, supply and convert this complex into a state-of-the-art, contemporary complex.

Private improvements will include all of the typical amenities enjoyed by the floating counterparts, including pools, theaters, gyms, a kitchen, bar, bedrooms and deluxe bathrooms. The possibilities are limited only by each member’s personal desire.

Vivos will provide each living quarters with power lines, plumbing for water and sewage, HVAC systems, communications lines, security systems, internet and closed circuit systems.
Internet, huh? Well good, I'm sure there are plenty of people -- myself included -- who will want to live tweet the apocalypse. I'd also be highly interested in checking the Daily Mail to see what their editors have to say about apocalypse fashion and celebrity mutants.

So, I see only a few small problems with this luxury bunker. 

First, it's really only designed to support inhabitants for 6 months to a year. Then what?

Second, support staff. You really don't expect these billionaires to serve themselves at the bar, do you? Just how long do you think the plebeians will serve their masters in a true disaster scenario?

Third, ongoing costs. Vivos expects inhabitants to pay maintenance costs in the event of bunker activation. What are they going to pay with? Are billionaires going to bring truckloads of cash with them? If so, that'll be helpful when the bunker runs out of toilet paper I suppose.

If spending the end of days locked in a prison isn't your cup of tea, you can send your DNA to the vault instead. Yes, for just the cost of a $30 DNA "card," your genetic data can live on post-apocalypse even if you don't. Now, we don't really have any use for it currently but just like cryogenically frozen heads, there may be a use for it in the future. Think about the future!

Good luck with that, Vivos. 


Prove What a Dried Up Sell Out You Are With These New Sex Pistols Credit Cards



Everyone gets old and hangs up their Dr. Martens eventually. There's no shame in that. In fact, one might argue there's more shame in clinging desperately to those Docs as though you're still 15 when you're 55. But hey, do what you want. I still have the same nose piercing I had in 1994, although I can't say I run around squeezing grapefruits at Kroger looking like Jane Child in yoga pants.

 Wait, why am I not squeezing grapefruits at Kroger looking exactly like this?!

Anyway, yeah, moving on. Growing up. Trading our youthful ideals for the reality of grown-up life. Why the bleedingest heartest liberal youth is the most likely to register as a Republican 40 years later once he's got a business and a mortgage and 2.5 kids and a dog with a heart condition.

For the sell-out punk in your life who has traded safety pins for PIN numbers, now Virgin Money brings us Sex Pistols branded credit cards. Never mind the bollocks, how about those interest rates?

Thirty eight years after the Sex Pistols first signed for Virgin Records, Virgin Money has announced an exclusive range of Sex Pistols credit cards, available from 9 June 2015.

Three options are available, including an eye-catching vertical design, with new technology allowing all customer personalisation (name, card number, expiry date) to be moved to the back of the card preserving the integrity of the Sex Pistols artwork and allowing it to be reproduced in full, as shown below.
Sorry not sorry but the integrity of the iconic artwork was lost whenever a bunch of middle-aged capitalist pigs stuffed into pinstripe suit casings like big sell-out sausages came up with this idea.

What's more punk rock than an APR of 18.9% on balance transfers? HUH? NOTHING.

You know, I thought 13 year old kids born after 9/11 wearing Sex Pistols t-shirts were the end of that era but no, this right here is it. Unless Virgin is planning on unveiling a Sex Pistols ETF or limited edition diabetes stocking collection.

*sigh* I'll be at Kroger desperately clinging to my youth if anyone needs me.




Rick Santorum Ruins Small Iowa Town's Lunch With His Gay Marriage Obsession



It's understandable that Snowball's Chance in Hell candidate Rick Santorum may prefer interacting with people in real life versus, say, over the Internet where he will forever be tied to awkward bodily fluids rather than Christian conservatism.

Lucky for Rick, his 15 minutes of Internet shame for that particular Urban Dictionary entry is just frothy mixture under the bridge at this point. He's back out on the campaign trail hoping maybe, just maybe, the GOP is extreme enough to let this guy burn the party to the ground once and for all. After all, 4 million of them thought giving him the presidential nomination was an awesome idea last time around.

Fortunately enough for voting Republicans, it's not looking too promising for Rick this time around:

When just one Iowan showed up to Rick Santorum's 2 p.m. campaign stop at a restaurant here Monday, the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses made a quick decision: Might as well order lunch.

"I haven't eaten, actually, all day," he said to his guest, Peggy Toft, an insurance agent and chair of the county's Republican Party.

Now, to be fair, I've been to Iowa. Unless you're partying in Des Moines, you're really not going to find more than 5 or at most 6 people in any given place at any given time.

Not one to be so easily defeated, Rick assures us this is all part of the plan, you guys.

"It's not glamorous, and you're not out there raising money, but you're doing what the money is ultimately supposed to do — getting votes," said Santorum, who earlier in the day drew 10 people to a noon meeting in nearby Panora. "This is a lot more fun than being on the phone raising money."

Since I know you're curious, he ate at Darrell's Place, which boasts "The Best Tenderloin in Iowa." That would sound really homoerotic if we weren't talking about rural Iowa and a gay-fearing man like Rick Santorum. Mmm, tenderloin.

As much as I am not looking forward to this upcoming election at all, it's reassuring to know even small rural towns in Iowa aren't rallying together to hear shit they already believe about how dudes who fuck other dudes up the ass will definitely burn in hell. That didn't stop Rick from discussing gay marriage at the table anyway because, you know, that's all part of the plan.

Mmm, tenderloin.

JDA Talks Crowdfunding Fraud



There are a few things I'm truly passionate about. Federal Reserve asshattery. Cat rescue. Personal freedom and responsibility. So when most of those (except the Fed) aligned after a reporter in Philadelphia reached out to me to be a part of her story on GoFundMe fraud, I was all in.

I started the Go Fraud Me Facebook page after I encountered resistance from GoFundMe to shut down a fraudulent fundraiser started by the elementary school dropout neighbor of Bart the "Miracle" Cat, a cat in Florida who somehow miraculously rose from the dead after being buried for 5 days. Yeah no. That's no miracle, it's the same kind of abuse I see almost every single day as a cat rescuer. Nice try though. The fundraiser is still up and Bart is still in the care of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, thankfully, while the irresponsible trash who buried him alive are now duking things out in court.

Nydia Han at 6abc in Philly asked me to be a part of her story on GFM -- the good and the bad -- and I was happy to give my $0.02 FWIW.

You can find the story below. If the embed doesn't work, it's right here.






Awkward!



KPMG's Choice of a Female CEO Only Proves How Far We Have to Go to Achieve True Gender Equality



Here we go again. I'm a little late weighing in on this -- except for a short quip on Twitter -- because, forgive me, I'm just not all up in the accounting news these days now that I've been released from my leash as Managing Editor of Going Concern.

But when I saw this, I just had to say something:

Why good for KPMG? Because she has a vagina? Wow, talk about sexist.

From the KPMG press release:

KPMG in the U.S. has elected Lynne Doughtie to serve as its next Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, for a five-year term starting July 1. Doughtie currently leads KPMG’s Advisory business, and has distinguished herself in numerous leadership positions since launching her career in the firm’s Audit practice three decades ago.

“It is an honor to have the chance to lead KPMG at such a pivotal moment, when ensuring quality and confidence in the work we do has never been more important,” said Doughtie. “Our firm, our clients and the entire marketplace are looking at a future of unprecedented change and extraordinary opportunity, where ‘business-as-usual’ is going to mean constant innovation and transformation. I’m excited to team with our incredibly talented people, as we work closely with companies and other organizations to help them address their most complex challenges and opportunities.” 
So, besides the fact that she lacks a Y chromosome, she's basically a perfect fit for the good old boy team: 30 year veteran of Kool Aid drinking, over the age of 50, prepared with nonsense quotes about the work the firm does as if any of it involves anything other than making money for the firm. A shoe in, really, so her lady parts are just a bonus for the firm to get lots of pats on the back for being disruptive and innovative and super chick-friendly and stuff.

Stop it. You know we have a long way to go toward gender equality when the fact that a firm chooses a female for a leadership position is the lead on any press release. So what, she's a woman.

Don't get me wrong, we could use more women in leadership positions. But so long as their appointments come with jerky-offy congratulations over choosing women, then we haven't really progressed any. Real progress comes when we elect women not because it's the PC or trendy thing to do, but because they are the best qualified for the position and no one needs to be like "HEY GUYS LOOK AT US WE PICKED A CHICK THOUGH!"

In KPMG's defense, their press release did nothing of the sort. It highlighted her many accomplishments, not her her-ness. And we need more of that. But then we have this:

Doughtie has been recognized with numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including being named one of Consulting Magazine’s “Top 25 Consultants” and “Top Women Leaders in Consulting.” She was also featured in Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching,” and recognized in Accounting Today’s “Women in Accounting.”
So she ranks up there with the best consultants but her other achievements are apparently limited to being a woman in her chosen field. Awesome. Girl power. Chicks and stuff, or something. Fuck, we have further to go than I thought.

Lynne sounds like an awesome person and here's hoping she can lead KPMG through what promises to be an interesting time for not just her firm but the rest. KPMG is wise to put someone from Advisory at the helm of the ship since no one gives a fuck about Audit. Note I said "someone" not "a lady" because it needs to not be about which set of chromosomes a person was given at birth.

Why This Southern Pickle Company is Everything That's Right With American Business



So, the other day I went to dig into a brand new large jar of Mt Olive kosher dills -- a brand I buy because it's "local," founded in 1926 in North Carolina -- when I found myself on the sharp end of a broken jar and a lid that just refused to come off. It was the weirdest thing. I hit the lid several times with the blunt end of a butter knife but it still stuck tight. One last hit and when I tried to twist it, the entire jar shattered at the top, sending pickle juice and glass flying everywhere in my kitchen.

Huh, weird. Well I called the Mt Olive customer service line to report the steadfast lid not because I expected anything in return but because this might be a quality control issue and I didn't want any other pickle enthusiasts to experience the trouble I did should this be a problem with the batch.

I guess I was surprised, then, when customer service offered to send me coupons and a "gift pack," whatever that might be. Well sure, I love pickles and this whole broken glass thing wasn't about to turn me off from more of them.

Check out this pickle jar. I mean that lid wasn't coming off for ANYONE, much less my meat paws clawing at it.

I respect that lid in many ways, really. It sticks to its guns. Even when everything is falling down around it, it holds tight. In some ways, that lid is my spirit animal.

Anyway, after making sure my cats were OK once I explained how glass went flying everywhere in my kitchen where my cats eat, the Mt Olive customer service lady wanted to make this right. What's right in this case? I really wanted a pickle at that exact moment and couldn't have one for fear of ending up with glass shards as a side but don't think I didn't contemplate washing the pickles off and eating one anyway (I didn't).

Well, they sent out a damn case of pickles to me. AN ENTIRE 11 LB BOX OF PICKLE ASSORTMENT. Surely this made up for my lack of pickle at the very moment that jar shattered on me, lid still hanging tight.





Just look at it. I'm not even that big of a fan of Bread & Butter pickles yet I'm looking at those B&B slices like OMG, get in my belly. I already could live off Mt Olive's peppers alone for at least a year or two before I get some kind of weird nutrient deficiency in my joints so I think I'll give the salad peppers to my boyfriend but OMG RELISH TOO?

All this to say, I was really impressed by the way they handled my complaint, which wasn't really a complaint but more a heads up like hey, this one lid of yours was really stubborn and if others are like it, they might cut people who are less dextrous than me in their attempt to get at the delicious pickles. I didn't get cut, I cleaned up the mess just fine, and now I have this gift pack of amazing pickle offerings to grub on. I'd say all in all it worked out OK.

I'll still buy Mt Olive since they're readily available and delicious. And I appreciate, above all else, the fact that a real person with a charming southern accent picked up the phone and tried to make this right for me. Right as in PICKLES, GET IN MY BELLY. Hey, I'll take it. *nom nom nom*

Getting Your News by Meme Only Makes You Look Stupid, As Evidenced By This Stupid Ass Ted Cruz Meme



So a "friend" posted this other day, accompanied with a bunch of expletives about what a toolbag Ted Cruz is. While I may not find Ted Cruz to be an upstanding, awesome individual, I don't think it's fair to put words in his mouth either.

Let's see the meme:

Yeah, cool story bro but he never actually said that.

Was his talk SUPER Christ-y and a bit douchey? Sure it was. You can read the whole transcript yourself and just find me a mention of GAYS or ATHEISTS. I didn't see one. Please, by all means, correct me if I'm wrong. I can wait.

Now he did make the mistake of implying that this country is founded on GOD as in HOLY ALMIGHTY GOD OF GOD IS MY CO-PILOT JESUS FISH bumper stickers God but hey, he has to appeal to his constituency after all. Those middle America right wing Rush loving yokels love to get their God quotes from Canadian Cubans, after all.

Still, he didn't say this. He didn't say anything even close to this.

Am I the only one who thinks the upcoming election will be the worst yet? Granted, I was born in the age of Reagan so my bar is already low but holy fuck, are memes the best opponents have got? Making up fake ass quotes to get the lathered up mouthbreathers to share them as the gospel? Oh Lawd Jesus save me now.

Why do I get the feeling I'll be writing in my cat for president this go round? Let's just start the Cash Money for President campaign now, eh?
A photo posted by Adrienne Gonzalez (@adriennenvy) on


Ben Bernanke Blogging Is the Greatest Thing I've Seen All Day



Alright, so the day isn't over yet but when I saw Ben Bernanke has started blogging, I squealed with schoolgirl joy.

Even better that the esteemed former Chief Executive Moneyfucker over at the Fed decided to defend impossibly low interest rates for his debut entry. Oh, Ben, you make it so easy. Literally.

Why are interest rates so low? Will they remain low? What are the implications for the economy of low interest rates?

If you asked the person in the street, “Why are interest rates so low?”, he or she would likely answer that the Fed is keeping them low. That’s true only in a very narrow sense. The Fed does, of course, set the benchmark nominal short-term interest rate. The Fed’s policies are also the primary determinant of inflation and inflation expectations over the longer term, and inflation trends affect interest rates, as the figure above shows. But what matters most for the economy is the real, or inflation-adjusted, interest rate (the market, or nominal, interest rate minus the inflation rate). The real interest rate is most relevant for capital investment decisions, for example. The Fed’s ability to affect real rates of return, especially longer-term real rates, is transitory and limited. Except in the short run, real interest rates are determined by a wide range of economic factors, including prospects for economic growth—not by the Fed.

You see, children, the person in the street is an idiot. The person in the street probably has, at best, a remedial understanding of how money works. That's a feature, not a bug.

Bernanke goes on to explain, in the most complicated way possible, why the person in the street is an idiot and actually, the Fed isn't to blame for your grandma eating Alpo in her final years.

This sounds very textbook-y, but failure to understand this point has led to some confused critiques of Fed policy. When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. 
In Bernanke's defense, they've thrown more than just seniors under the bus. So, there's that.

Really, it's not his fault, you guys, it's the person in the street for not understanding how this works.

A similarly confused criticism often heard is that the Fed is somehow distorting financial markets and investment decisions by keeping interest rates “artificially low.” Contrary to what sometimes seems to be alleged, the Fed cannot somehow withdraw and leave interest rates to be determined by “the markets.” The Fed’s actions determine the money supply and thus short-term interest rates; it has no choice but to set the short-term interest rate somewhere.


Paul Krugman didn't waste any time busting out the Jergens to give Bernanke a nice handy over his blog coming out party:

It’s a very clear, well-argued post; regular readers know that I’ve been making essentially the same arguments for years. I’d just add two points.
 
First, the image of the little old lady living hand to mouth off the interest on her bank account is basically a fiction. Most retired Americans depend on Social Security for the majority of their income, and have very little in interest earnings; the decline in rates has primarily hurt a small minority of very well-off seniors.
You'll note Bernanke was the one who chose to out grandma eating Alpo. So fine, maybe she's a cliche example used for dramatic effect -- but what about the countless Americans who aren't cliche dramatic examples that have actually been deeply impacted by monetary policy? Are they not real either?

Looking forward to reading what else this chucklefucker has up his sleeve. Thank you, Brookings, for giving him a platform on which to spout off this stuff.