Guest Post: Your Pick, Ben, But One Goes Off The Cliff

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Your Pick, Ben, But One Goes Off the Cliff   

It's one or the other, Ben: you either push the real economy over the edge or you push stocks and the risk trade off the cliff.

Now that you've pushed the dollar down, Ben, it's your pick on what to push off the cliff: your beloved risk trade or the real economy. Here's a chart of the U.S. dollar and crude oil. Notice they're on a see-saw: when the dollar tanks, oil skyrockets. When the dollar recovers a bit, oil declines.

Ben Bernanke and the Fed are replaying their 2008 game plan: drive the dollar down to goose the risk trade in stocks. But a funny thing happened on the way to blowing another equity bubble: oil bubbled up, too, and that killed the real economy.

For the past three years, Ben has been trying to resuscitate the real economy via "the wealth effect": if your portfolio of stocks is rising, then you'll feel richer and your "animal spirits" of borrowing and spending will be aroused. The only proven way to goose stocks is to crush the dollar so overseas corporate earnings will be boosted by the currency depreciation (when transferred back into dollars, even flat profits look like they're rising), and U.S. exports will be cheaper to our trading partners.

Flooding the U.S. market with liquidity and keeping interest rates at zero had another consequence, one adamantly denied by the Ministry of Truth: it sparked a carry trade in which cheap dollars could be borrowed for next to nothing and exported around the world to seek higher returns.

Unsurprisingly, much of this free money flowed into commodities, which retained their value as the Fed pushed the dollar down. Also unsurprisingly, oil exporters raised the price of their oil in dollars as the dollar tanked.

Ben and his motley crew at the Fed reckoned that the financialized U.S. economy would respond positively to the lower dollar and the goosing of the risk trade in stocks. But the guys and gals seem to have forgotten that the real economy is dependent on oil. All the folks at the cocktail parties attended by Yellen et al. may be gushing over their hefty stock gains, but in the kitchen and carpark the workers are grousing about the rising prices of food and gasoline.

Now the cost of oil--the lifeblood of the real economy--is close to the point that it will push the real economy into recession. This sets up a difficult choice for Ben: if he pushes the dollar down to new lows, then oil leaps up and pushes the real economy off the cliff.

Alternatively, Ben renounces QE3 and "surprises" the markets with a rate increase, thus rescuing the dollar from freefall and pushing oil down. But that will send his precious risk trade and equity Bull off the cliff.

The politicos won't like either choice, but sacrificing the real economy will cost them their seat. All the fatcats who've raked in tens of billions from the risk trade Bull will be demanding that Ben "save" the financialized economy, but the politicos will see their political obituaries being written. Yes, the fatcats will shower them with millions in campaign contributions, but even those millions won't change the fact that Americans reliably vote their pocketbooks.

If rising oil pushes the real economy over the cliff, voters will not be re-electing incumbents in 2012.

Welcome to reality, Ben. Your "let's pretend the recovery is real" game is nearing an end. If you push the dollar down any more, then oil will go up and tip the real economy into a recession that QE3 will only make worse as you send the dollar into freefall. If the dollar rises, then your beloved "wealth effect" dies a horrible death on the rocks below.

Take your pick, but choose wisely.

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ragedmaximus's picture

pesos are worth more than dollars americans last seen running across border to mexico!!!!

Dr. Richard Head's picture

There was a point when wired money would flood into Mexico from Amerika from the migrant workers.  I believe I read a piece where the money flow reversed somewhere around 2008-2009. 

Saxxon's picture

The econ conditions hurt the guys coming up from MX and Central America so fewer pesos flow South now.  If there are Pesos coming up that would be narco/fatcat money.

Azannoth's picture

Ben has an easy choice

save the upper 5%

save the lower 95%


??? do u need 3 guesses to which he will pick

MarketTruth's picture

If i may... the Bernak's choice is either save the banksters that OWN the private Federal Reserve central bank or screw the 95% poor sheeple. Ben works FOR the banks so his choice is easy.

SWCroaker's picture

In other words, "What has the lower 95% done for Ben lately?"

TwoShortPlanks's picture

I think Ben's more concerned about all that rope in hardware stores right now, and not so much about his bosses. He must feel like Lee Harvey Osward when the cops entered the cinema.

Azannoth's picture

L.H.Oswald was driking a cola and eating popcorn and didn't even have a hand gun on him, 15 min after he 'killed' J.F.K do you rly belive that ?

Diogenes's picture

Oswald was seen by Dallas police officer Marion Baker in the second floor lunch room drinking a Coke, less than 2 minutes after he supposedly shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window on the opposite end of the building. His fingerprints were not on the murder weapon and a parrafin test revealed he had not shot a rifle that day, also according to Dallas police.

mkkby's picture

According to the 1994 confession of James Files, a former CIA agent and mafia hit man at the time, Oswald was duped into thinking they were in Dallas to protect the president.  That is how they got him into position to take the fall.

StychoKiller's picture

SPLAT!  KABOOM! -- "He chose poorly." - Old Knight in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

"Investors need to diversify, they need to own some real estate, they need to own some farmland, they need to own some equities, some cash, and some precious metals..."   Marc Faber —Investment analyst

Got real estate and farmland outside your home country yet?

4shzl's picture

The Fed will be "restructured" before the 2012 election, imho.

redpill's picture

Only if things reach some kind of plateau here.  The last few months things really seem to have started to accelerate.

Ben has to find a way to stall, there are no good options for him in June.

smlbizman's picture

i think we are experiencing what chris martenson has explained to the tee......exponential debt growth....

holdbuysell's picture


Exactly. The need to issue debt-money is accelerating at a fantastic pace in order to keep up the charade.

The problem is there's no growth to support it.

holdbuysell's picture


Exactly. The need to issue debt-money is accelerating at a fantastic pace in order to keep up the charade.

The problem is there's no growth to support it.

DeadFred's picture

Restructuring would require congressional action and congress is as bought and paid for as the Fed is.  This should be a good test of who really owns the Fed.  No one but a few insiders really know what's going on and the rest of us try to devine the truth from the tea leaves we're shown.  My bet is the Fed is mainly controlled by globalist powers so the US economy is of secondary concern.  The dollar will continue it's dive, and commodities will continue their rise.  But don't forget the third option common to governing by committee, a 'compromise' solution trying to satisfy both, but failing in all.

redpill's picture

Honestly I don't think Obama can even talk (or read the teleprompter) intelligently about the issue.  With all this shit going down, I've yet to hear him discuss any technical economic issues at all.  Just absurd "war on speculators garbage."  Even dumbass George Bush would discuss some stats once in awhile.  Obama doesn't have the slightest clue.


island's picture

I have to agree with you. I suspect Obama was a poor math student; they won't release his grades, which makes me all the more suspect.  In any case, it seems economic issues are too complex for him, and he relies on the likes of tax cheats, liars, and greedy sociopaths for his guidance, and then serves up some perception management soundbites to the public.

Rainman's picture

+100 lies and counting. I likewise suspect the Great Agitator has ADD when it comes to numbers. I am familiar with the symptoms. Mrs. Rainman has suffered with it for decades.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

I don't agree. I think he is following the script, and he is not supposed to talk about the numbers. He's not stupid - he's working for the same people George Bush worked for.  No difference here at all.

6_7_42's picture

+1 He went to Harvard and in Celente's parlance is one of the "White Shoe Boyz" ...he doesn't even care what the numbers are as long as he's in charge.  The people who really undertand the numbers are blinded by Keynesian dogma and they keep feeding him the same dogma. Not stupid, just unable to think thoughts not already thought out by others. In other words, a lawyer.

newworldorder's picture

Quite right and with no offense to those more mathematically inclined than others;

Why is it that most of the people who work in government in Washington hold either a law or economics degree? Couple this with an academic background and good governance stops working quickly.

Azannoth's picture

It's possible that rising commodieties is Exactly what they want, after they bought out all the comoditie companies pennies on the dollar in the past decade, it's time to take the 'other' side of the trade

sschu's picture

But don't forget the third option common to governing by committee, a 'compromise' solution trying to satisfy both, but failing in all.

This is more likely, the idea that they will attempt to mollify both perspectives.  It will buy time as oil will decline somewhat and the market will "adjust", but it will not fix anything.

We can expect no real change until early 2013 when the next political structure takes over.  The change we experience then is anyone's guess.


Tucson Tom's picture

Right on the mark.Isn`t that what Tyler`s assertion was yesterday which was obfuscate and be vague on Tueday as to not disrupt the market place.If they want the Commander-in-Ept to get four more,then they have to placate the masses and lower food and oil until the votes are counted.

WonderDawg's picture

"This should be a good test of who really owns the Fed."

There is no mystery about who owns the Fed. The shareholders of the Fed are a select group of banks owned by a select group of families: the Morgans, Lehmans, Rockefellers, Bakers, Schiffs, Warburgs, etc. It's public information, it's just not public knowledge. So, the Federal Reserve Bank is a private bank owned by a select group of elite, wealthy (beyond our comprehension kind of wealth) families. Bernanke works for those guys. Is there any mystery why he's creating trillions of dollars to save the large financial institutions? And 95% of Americans have no idea. Finally, Glenn Beck is talking about this, so maybe it will become more mainstream knowledge. Not that I agree with a lot of things Beck says, his partisanship dilutes his message, I think, but he does have a decent-sized following, so maybe more and more people will be talking about it.

This is why Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

WonderDawg's picture

Here's the org chart. It was published in 1976, but I kind of doubt anyone has sold their shares out of the family since then.

Word to ya mama and them.

VegasBob's picture

We should "restructure" Benocide Bernokio and his asshole buddy Lord Bankfiend into a pair of matching nooses, and let them swing from lampposts.

tomster0126's picture

keen thoughts...restructured, if not hopefully vanquished completely.  Is there a way to impeach Bernutty through public vote?

Hedgetard55's picture

Ben is between the proverbial megalith and a gigantic diamond.

cossack55's picture

I hope he chooses the one that turns him into a mummy and then the whole spontaeous combustion thing, all within like 2 minutes. That would be cool if someone filmed it.

tawdzilla's picture

I for one don't care anymore which way he goes, I just wish he would get it overwith.  Either bring on the depression, or bring on the hyperinflation, and let's face the music already.  This jedi master mindgame BS is a waste of my time.  Delaying the pain will just make things worse in the end.  

The Bernanke, please choose your weapon and let's get r dun. 

AccreditedEYE's picture

It is all about delay for them tawdzilla. The longer they delay, 1. the longer banks continue to rebuild their balance sheets (s..l..o..w..l..y) with guaranteed profits from 0% Fed financing and 2. The U.S. Gov continues its "stealth" default to its creditors. Now my question is, when does the market force their hands? I believe their biggest weakness lies in their belief that the dollar and U.S. assets will continue to be "revered" around the world.    

NotApplicable's picture

Chinese water torture, anyone?

drip... drip... drip...

tawdzilla's picture

These immoral goons don't have as much time as they think they have.  Greece went from A grade to junk in less than 2 years. 

The banks may be benefitting from these delay of game tactics, but my kids are not.  The banks maybe have a 1% chance of successfully cleaning up their balance sheets, while my kids have a 100% chance of debt bondage. 

azusgm's picture

Let's not forget that it's also about running out the statute of limitations on massive fraud. If those banksters and Timma and the Bernank extend and pretend long enough to avoid prosecution, we should be advised to go long lampposts and rope, preferably hemp rope.

Diogenes's picture

You are in the middle of it right now. It takes a long time to destroy a great nation and see it fall. Like chopping down a giant redwood tree. The last chip is down and the tree is falling but has not hit the ground yet.

mkkby's picture

If you care to, you'll have to wait until after the election.  Until then it will be talk oil down, talk about deficit reduction, and keep the real economy going as much as possible.  After TOTUS (teleprompter of the US) gets his "4 more" anything can happen.  But they will pull all stops to keep up the status quo until then.

newworldorder's picture

Agreed. Also the US government operations have to be financed as long as possible to the tune of $1.5 trillion annual borrowings.

Re-Discovery's picture

Must be said again (and 50 times a day.) 

Bernanke's an idiot. 

God, I wish I could play him in poker.  Although I kind of am with the PM trade.

mkkby's picture

Say it 51 times then -- YOU are the idiot.  He is doing and saying exactly what the bankers pay him to do and say.  Get a clue.

holdbuysell's picture

But why? Why are the banksters wanting him to look like an idiot to the masses?

What's the plan, then?


mayhem_korner's picture

He doesn't look like an idiot to the masses...just to the informed.

ragedmaximus's picture

No seriously uncle bens gonna start a campfire with dollars to take some out of circulation thus strengthining the dollar and crashing commodity prices along the way

island's picture

If he burned 1 dollar per second, it would take 31,709 years to burn a cool Trillion.

mayhem_korner's picture

How's he gonna do that?  Seen the returns on the Maiden Lane test balloons he's tossed out there?

stoneman sacked's picture

Ben only does what he is best at.

thames222's picture

what's that, sucking D, taking our money, and passing gas?