More Leftist Bernanke Critics: Once You Pop You Can't Stop

Ben Bernanke fucking loves this stupid tie.
Apparently so does our friend Timmy the Tax Cheat

I'm plunging into the frightening world of Leftist Bernanke Criticisms and I'm not sure why but I don't know when I will return. Don't worry, I wore my red leopard uhh understuffs, I'll be safe I promise.

Uhh... WTF? Matthew Yglesias via Think Progress (I hate that word):

Health care aside, I really think we need more focus on the fact that the nation’s top economic policymaker recently said something extremely problematic that doesn’t at all appear to have been a “gaffe” or a mistake. To recapitulate, Brad DeLong asked Ben Bernanke why [sic] doesn’t fight unemployment by setting a three percent inflation target. Bernanke didn’t deny that this would reduce unemployment. Bernanke didn’t say he had a different, better way of reducing unemployment. Instead he said he didn’t want to fight the actually existing problem of mass unemployment because he thought doing so might make it more difficult to fight hypothetical future inflation.

I think this started when I was recently asked who could serve as the anti-Krugman. Well WTF kind of question is that? I knew who I read daily:

Skeptical CPA - he was a salty old libertarian but as a CPA, not quite an economist and not nearly as extreme as Krugman's crazy ass.

WC Varones - Seriously? Firstly, the site is a collective, secondly, as with Skeptical CPA, you can't really put up a libertarian against a whacked-out progressive. Not.

Financial Armageddon - Not happening. Panzner is pretty politically-neutral at least in the sense that you don't get offended reading him even if you're doing it with Glenn Beck on mute in the background. Or Rachel Maddow. Pick your poison, stupid, you get the point.

Market Ticker - Now we were on to something but was Karl Denninger a raging Republican? Honestly I didn't care enough to investigate. He was the closest thing I could think of.

The truth was that there is no anti-Krugman and that's probably a good thing.


The Left hating on Bernanke, let's get back to that:

Paul Krugman unloads on this a bit and Scott Sumner has an excellent technical discussion of the problems with Bernanke’s answer. And Will Wilkinson delivers a potent metaphor about the weird way that Bernanke conceded that DeLong’s approach would work “in theory” but he doesn’t want to do it anyway:

I guess we could call it the “Pringles Problem”: Once you pop, you can’t stop! Bernanke seems to think that if the Fed tries to increase long-term inflation expectations once, a fair portion of the public will suspect that the Fed won’t be able stop, will act on the expectation of runaway inflation, and everything will go to shit. Or something like that. Or, in Bernanke’s words, “such a policy could cause the public to lose confidence in the central bank’s willingness to resist further upward shifts in inflation, and so undermine the effectiveness of monetary policy going forward.”

OK. But I believe that the Fed can eat just one. Bernanke believes the Fed can eat just one. (NB: The “Pringles Problem” is extensionally equivalent to the “Lay’s Problem.”) But some significant part of the “the public” does not. How exactly does one measure the public’s position on the Pringles/Lay’s Problem? How exactly does one assess the public’s “confidence” in the Fed’s willingness to resist upwards shifts in inflation, such that one could assess the risk that a one-time bump in the inflation target will dangerously undermine this confidence? Is there survey evidence about this? Anything? If the Fed can’t credibly signal a commitment to a theoretically sound monetary policy, why not? Is it that Ron Paul will start doing handsprings and all the hucksters hawking gold on Glenn Beck will go bananas if the Fed even flinches? (Wouldn’t it be interesting if goldbug catastrophism helps prevent the very inflationary eschaton it banks upon?) Or what?

Yes, quite.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I get the sense that the left feels threatened by Ben Bernanke for some really ridiculous reason (his voter card? Don't make me get into that, the guy has smooth political parts like a fucking Ken doll k?) and really wish they'd get on board with what really matters: he's a hack. He lacks the testicular fortitude to right the Fed's tipping ship and whomever is pulling his strings seems to lack the technical skill required to navigate out of disaster. Lose-lose, bitches, it has nothing to do with who he voted for in 2004.

Maybe we do really need an anti-Krugman right about now.

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.


What are you looking for here? Why would anyone need an anti-Krugman?