Ben Bernanke Got Jokes, Still Can't Save Economy From Unadulterated Free Fall


But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
-Yeats


Speaking to the Boston College of Law for their 2009 commencement ceremony, our buddy Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has some interesting thoughts on... well wait? I'm not really sure what his thoughts are on since he opens by saying that he surely isn't going to get into the particulars of economics as that wouldn't be sexy enough a topic. Sure ok. I disagree with Bernanke's assessment, as I found this August 2008 Bloomberg appearance by Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker to be incredibly sexy while I was watching it last night... But maybe that's just me. Core inflation really does it for me... (part 2 of Lacker's 08/08 Bloomberg appearance if you're a sick and twisted economics whore like some of us)

I digress. Bernanke is wrong as usual. No large shock there.

"As an economist and policymaker, I have plenty of experience in trying to foretell the future," says our buddy Zimbabwe Ben. He does not, sadly, mention the part about his epic failure at his psychic efforts.

I've got to throw ZB a bone here and say this speech is actually more real than I am used to seeing. Point to the central banker code:

With so much at stake, you will not be surprised to know that, over the years, many very smart people have applied the most sophisticated statistical and modeling tools available to try to better divine the economic future. But the results, unfortunately, have more often than not been underwhelming. Like weather forecasters, economic forecasters must deal with a system that is extraordinarily complex, that is subject to random shocks, and about which our data and understanding will always be imperfect. In some ways, predicting the economy is even more difficult than forecasting the weather, because an economy is not made up of molecules whose behavior is subject to the laws of physics, but rather of human beings who are themselves thinking about the future and whose behavior may be influenced by the forecasts that they or others make. To be sure, historical relationships and regularities can help economists, as well as weather forecasters, gain some insight into the future, but these must be used with considerable caution and healthy skepticism.

Was that a piece of truth sewn up in the forked tongue of central banker code? I'm shocked.

I really, really hate to say this but I believe Ben Bernanke just impressed me. The entire speech is actually a refreshing break from his never-ending stream of absolute and total bullshit. Point again.

You'd think he was talking about ZIRP and not his early days at Harvard:

I took in the scene, so foreign to my experience, and I said to myself, "What have I done?"

At some level, I really had no idea what I had done, or what the consequences would be. All I knew was that I had chosen to abandon the known and comfortable for the unknown and challenging. But for me, at least, the expansion of horizons was exactly what I needed at that time in my life.

Meanwhile, did you see this?



Can you spot the LOL in today's chart?


Yeah, we're screwed. Ben Bernanke knows this. Tim Geithner knows this. Certainly Barack Obama has got to know this (I hope).

Don't miss Bernanke's performance. It may be the one and only time you see such reality oozing out of the Federal Reserve. I commend him for the honesty but am not so delusional to believe that we should expect a shift in his modus operandi. As if.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.

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