Ben Bernanke: Time's "Person of the Year"
First of all, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who sent concerned e-mails these past few days making sure my silence was not - as one JDA reader put it - thought-police induced. I assure you, those black Fed helicopters haven't gotten to me yet and will have to try harder than that if they're going to silence me. I did have a birthday this week and spent some quality time getting away from it all in lovely Chicago with my, uh, partner in crime. Promise next time I'll leave an out of office note so none of you get too concerned.
Anyway. Let's talk about this, erm, travesty called Time's Person of the Year for 2009, shall we?
Hey, if AP can call Tiger Woods "Athlete of the Decade" (aren't athletes supposed to also serve as role models? Guess not, it's all in the swing, bitches), Ben Bernanke as Man of the Year is really not that big of a stretch. Why stop there? Perhaps we should also give him a Grammy for "Best New Artist" and a Tony for his recent performance on the Hill.
While the Twitterverse predictably innundated me with notes about Bernanke's latest prize anxious to hear my (likely pissed off and expletive-filled) reaction, I mulled over the idea of Ben Bernanke as the hero of the recession. He's gotten jerked off in the Washington Post and been sucked off by major media outlets for his "exceptional" performance under pressure. While I may not agree with media hacks rubbing the man's balls, I reluctantly admit that he inherited a set of circumstances that no one could have possibly thrived under. But how long will we continue to use that excuse? Obama inherited a mess from Bush. I inherited a mess from my mother. Blah blah blah, the man knew what he was getting himself into when he took the job - or maybe he had no idea, since he was saying as late as 2006 that there was no housing bubble and insisted that "fundamentals are strong" while the entire thing was collapsing all around him. With the amount of information at his fingertips, shouldn't Ben Bernanke have been the first to see a problem on the horizon?
The Chairman of the Federal Reserve is expected to be some kind of clairvoyant, whether or not he himself possesses such a quality.
Reuters on Birthday Boy Bernanke's new award:
The selection puts the mild-mannered Bernanke, a former professor, in the company of U.S. President Barack Obama, Pope John Paul II and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other prominent world figures the magazine has picked in past years.
The Senate is considering Bernanke's nomination to a second term to head the Fed -- the U.S. central bank -- and while he is expected to win confirmation, criticism of the Fed among the public and members of Congress is at its highest in decades.
The Fed's role in bailouts of Wall Street has prompted criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Some lawmakers are pushing proposals to curb the Fed's regulatory powers and open up its interest rate decision to congressional audits.
The Fed worries that congressional second-guessing of its policy decisions would compromise its fiercely-guarded independence.
Technically, Bernanke has two jobs: to keep employment high and inflation low. He has failed miserably in both mandates, leading a reasonable person to wonder what kind of PR team arranged this farce. The Fed might argue that inflation - at least for now - is under control but once the Great Deflation is finished flopping all over the place, it might be cause for concern. I'm no fucking psychic, that's Zimbabwe Ben's job.
Didn't Tim Geithner also end up on People's 100 Most Beautiful List? The media is invalidating what little credibility it had remaining by the day, and if you wonder why traditional media are suffocating, you need look no further than this for your answer. It's a joke.
The Fed doesn't want the publicity nor does our dear Zimbabwe Ben. He'd rather be in the Board's basement cranking up the presses with his nose buried in a book than in the spotlight. Look at how ill-prepared he was for "fame" when he started this schtick, he was a total scrub.
I can get into this more in depth but I just flew halfway across the country and haven't gotten much sleep for the last four days so you'll have to excuse me, this is the most shit ZB gets from me tonight. I'll be back to give him a good bitchslap when I've gotten my rest.
p.s. Fuck you, Time.