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Tag Archives: Ben Bernanke

Does A Second Floor Make An Effective Ceiling?

For central bankers like Bill Dudley and Ben Bernanke, the Global Financial Crisis was a godsend. So much had been a disaster it was hard to pin down specific failures. Where does one begin? Practically everything went wrong, so take your pick. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) did its part pointing the finger at those greedy Wall Street bankers and the toxic waste of their subprime mortgages. The saga of IOER proves there’s so much more to the story. For his part, Dr. Bernanke...

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The Fallacious Doctrine of ‘Abundant Reserves’

It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but to that point it did suggest something had changed. Things were going wrong and afterward the very idea of wrong took on an even more disastrous nature. On Monday, September 29, 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted nearly 778 points. It was the largest single day’s point loss in the index’s history. As luck would have it, this was a record that would stand until early February 2018. In percentage terms, the penultimate trading day in...

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The RHINO Conundrum of UFO Non-believers

In 2005, Ben Bernanke kicked up quite a bit of controversy, or what qualifies as drama in the dry space of top-level Economics. It was Alan Greenspan who really started the conversation, practically begging for someone to offer an answer. Long-term interest rates were not behaving the way they were supposed to; the maestro’s true swan song was his “conundrum.” Bernanke saw what everyone else did; there was suddenly a whole lot of monetary and financial activity going on outside the US. Even...

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Globally Synchronized (Bond Yields)

If you have nothing left, it can sound like a winning argument but you have to really try hard enough. In October 2015, with another false dawn dawning on the public, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote and op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. As had become his habit, it was full of praise – for his own work. Though he likely didn’t choose the title, it reflected his article nonetheless; and it tells you all you need to know about it. How the Fed Saved the Economy. How...

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Anesthesia Right On Schedule

In early January, much of the world was dazed and confused. What the hell just happened? Two weeks before, in the middle of December 2018, Jay Powell stood in front of the microphones confidently declaring his rate hikes justified by an extremely strong economy. Yet, even the stock market had turned against him. When the calendar changed to 2019, not even the Fed’s Chairman was so sure. What followed was merely the first step in what was always going to be a long, drawn-out process. It began...

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When Verizons Multiply, Macro In Inflation

Inflation always brings out an emotional response. Far be it for me to defend Economists, but their concept is at least valid – if not always executed convincingly insofar as being measurable. An inflation index can be as meaningful as averaging the telephone numbers in a phone book (for anyone who remembers what those things were). If you spend $1,000 a month on food for your family, and food prices rise 6% generally that’s an additional $60 that has to come from somewhere. It is...

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Central Bankers Follow Bonds, Then Insist They Aren’t And That Bonds Agree With Them

When central bankers use the word “financial” in an economic context, they mean exclusively stocks. Maybe that’s somewhat appropriate given how bonds are so often treated as monetary equivalents. Then again, if that is the case in the official view, how does anyone reconcile bonds with anything? Economy or money? The hard answer is that officials don’t really care about yields. They “decompose” them into what they think are discrete components and then analyze the yield sausage as needed....

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The Transitory Story, I Repeat, The Transitory Story

Understand what the word “transitory” truly means in this context. It is no different than Ben Bernanke saying, essentially, subprime is contained. To the Fed Chairman in early 2007, this one little corner of the mortgage market in an otherwise booming economy was a transitory blip that booming economy would easily withstand. Just eight days before Bernanke would testify confidently before Congress, the FOMC had met to discuss their lying eyes. The eurodollar futures market was, in the...

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Proposed Negative Rates Really Expose The Bond Market’s Appreciation For What Is Nothing More Than Magic Number Theory

By far, the biggest problem in Economics is that it has no sense of itself. There are no self-correction mechanisms embedded within the discipline to make it disciplined. Without having any objective goals from which to measure, the goal is itself. Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coase talked about this deficiency in his Nobel Lecture: This neglect of other aspects of the system has been made easier by another feature of modern economic theory – the growing abstraction of the analysis,...

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The Act of Inflation

Stodgy and mundane, the very model of prudence and wisdom. That is what central banks are supposed to be, even in this new age transparency paradigm. The central bank being put on display for the public has been opened up for those very reasons. So you can be assured they are the very model of prudence and wisdom. Constant tinkering and ad hoc changes, however, can lead one to think otherwise. Creativity and invention are afterthoughts in the modern economy, necessary prerequisites for our...

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