Bernanke Confirms That The Key Goal Of The Fed, And QE2, Is To Boost Stock Prices
So much for the Fed's two mythical mandates of promoting "maximum employment" and maintaining "price stability." First, we had Bernanke's predecessor Greenspan confirming in late July on Meet the Press what everyone knows: namely that the primary goal of the Fed is merely to encourage higher stock prices: "if the stock market continues higher it will do more to stimulate the economy than any other measure we have discussed here." And now, courtesy of an Op-Ed by the current chairman, we get confirmation, again, just three months later, from the current chairman, that the Fed cares mostly about stimulating high stock prices, solely to create the completely artificial illusion of "wealth" for the few, the proud, the shareholders, and the banking oligarchy.
Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.
See, the thing is Bernanke is absolutely right... when it comes to a few hundred thousand "consumers" (out of over 330 million). One group of Americans whose wealth is tied into the equity value of any given company, typically insiders, are more than happy to take advantage of this massive surge in artificial stock valuations. This last week for example they took over 660 million advantages worth. We repeatedly demonstrate that the ratio of insider selling to buying is now beyond grotesque. In the past week alone it hit over 400 (and was over 2,300 a few weeks ago) - see chart at bottom of post. So yes, those for whom Bernanke's "easing" is working, are taking advantage of it. As for the other group of beneficiaries, the ones who are going to receive over $100 billion in bonuses this year, well: they already literally own Bernanke, so we are not too worried about them either.
As for everyone else, tough luck. Since for 99% of America, surging prices will not be offset by any appreciation in their meager stock holding, nor will deteriorating employment prospects, declining home values, and a recessionary relapse in the economy provoke Americans to actually part with their increasingly meager capital as confirmed by the 26th sequential outflow from US retail mutual funds. In other words, the bulk of America has nothing to look forward to except encroaching poverty, and retirement fund balances substantiated by nothing than fraudulent, FASB-endorsed, stock valuations.
Furthermore, when Bernanke said that: "our earlier use of this policy approach had little effect on the amount
of currency in circulation or on other broad measures of the money
supply, such as bank deposits" he was only kidding, as the following chart of M2, whose primary component are precisely bank deposits and savings, demonstrates:
Furthermore, by adding that "Nor did [QE] result in higher inflation", Bernanke probably did not have this chart in mind:
But lying and scheming is nothing new to the Chairman. As we showed earlier, Bernanke lied under oath to Congress. Why should he start telling the truth now? Additionally, when all those who are chasing stock momentum higher are piggybacking on the "frontrun the Fed" trade, are benefiting, why should they voice disapproval with a strategy that is helping them, if only until such time as the market experiences another massive, and this time terminal, crash... No matter how destructive it is for everyone else.
At the end of the day, it is a question of time: when the people of America realize that all those who are selling on the chart below are doing so at the expense of 99% of American population, and are also sentencing the country to a fate of debt-based insolvency, the time will come. The time will be one of a violent overthrow of the Fed.
Until then, America, for some odd reason believing it has achieved some atual change in the political arena, can just continue to bend over, and take the Fed's daily dose of lies, wealth transfer, and involuntary indebtedness, like a flock of very docile sheep, which has its iPad and iPhone. After all, who needs anything more.
Update: it took Jan Hatzius about 15 minutes to respond to our, and certainly others', interpretation:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke published an article in Thursday's Washington Post, available on the paper's website this evening. The article constitutes a forceful justification of the $600 billion in longer-term Treasury purchases announced earlier today. Bernanke says that the easing in financial conditions -- specifically the drop in long-term interest rates and the increase in stock prices -- that began as investors anticipated further Fed action will boost spending, and this boost, "in a virtuous circle, will support further economic expansion." He does not mention the dollar as a channel of transmission for QE2, probably because he does not want to be seen -- either by the Treasury (which is responsible for dollar policy) or by foreign policymakers -- as pursuing an overtly weak dollar policy. Bernanke also argues that concerns about substantially higher inflation are unfounded because the Fed has both the means and the will to keep inflation low and stable over time.
We do not see significant implications for monetary policy from the article. Some will argue that it seeks to justify targeting asset prices and that this is an inappropriate objective of monetary policy. We think this is a misinterpretation/overinterpretation of both Mr. Bernanke's analysis and, more importantly, the policy itself. While Fed asset purchases are intended to work via their effects on asset prices, that is not the same as setting specific targets for those prices.