This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Musings On Monetary Mendacity

Tyler Durden's picture


Originally posted in the Princeton Journal For High-Brow Finance

The U.S. economy ceased to function this week after
unexpected existential remarks by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke
shocked Americans into realizing that money is, in fact, just a
meaningless and intangible social construct.


it "basically no more than five rectangular strips of paper," Fed
chairman Ben Bernanke illustrates how much "$200" is actually worth.

What began as a routine report before the Senate Finance Committee
Tuesday ended with Bernanke passionately disavowing the entire concept
of currency, and negating in an instant the very foundation of the
world's largest economy.

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed
will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then
paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook
his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of
this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed
bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look
at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them.

According to witnesses, Finance Committee members sat in
thunderstruck silence for several moments until Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
finally shouted out, "Oh my God, he's right. It's all a mirage. All of
it—the money, our whole economy—it's all a lie!"

Screams then filled the Senate Chamber as lawmakers and members of
the press ran for the exits, leaving in their wake aisles littered with
the remains of torn currency.


U.S. markets closed as traders left their jobs and resolved for once to do or make something, anything of real value.

As news of the nation's collectively held delusion spread, the
economy ground a halt, with dumbfounded citizens everywhere walking out
on their jobs as they contemplated the little green drawings of
buildings and dead white men they once used to measure their adequacy
and importance as human beings.

At the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday morning's opening bell
echoed across a silent floor as the few traders who arrived for work
out of habit looked up blankly at the meaningless scrolling numbers on
the flashing screens above.

"I've spent 25 years in this room yelling 'Buy, buy! Sell, sell!'
and for what?" longtime trader Michael Palermo said. "All I've done is
move arbitrary designations of wealth from one column to another,
wasting my life chasing this unattainable hallucination of wealth."

"What a cruel cosmic joke," he added. "I'm going home to hug my daughter."

Sources at the White House said President Obama was "still trying to
get his head around all this" and was in seclusion with his coin
collection, muttering "it's just metal, it's just metal" over and over

"The president will be making a statement very soon," press
secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters. "At the moment, though, his mind
is just too blown to comment."

A few U.S. banks have remained open, though most teller windows are
unmanned due to a lack of interest in transactions involving mere
scraps of paper or, worse, decimal points and computer data signifying
mere scraps of paper. At a Bank of America branch in Spokane, WA,
curious former customers wandered aimlessly through a large empty
vault, while several would-be robbers of a Chase bank in Columbus, OH
reportedly put their guns down and exited the building hand in hand
with security guards, laughing over the inherent absurdity of the idea
of $100 bills.

Likewise, the real estate industry has all but vanished, with
mortgage lenders seeing no reason to stop people from reclaiming their
foreclosed-upon homes.

"I don't even know what we were thinking in the first place," said
former banker Nathan Collins of Brandon, MS, as he jimmyed open a door
to allow a single mother and her five children to move back into their
house. "A bunch of people sign a bunch of papers, and now this family
has no place to live? That's just plain ludicrous."

The realization that money is nothing more than an elaborate head
game seems to have penetrated the entire country: In Wilmington, DE,
for instance, a collection agent reportedly broke down in joyful sobs
when he informed a woman on the other end of the phone that he had
absolutely no reason to harass her anymore, as her Discover Card debt
was no longer comprehensible.

For some Americans, the fog of disbelief surrounding the nation's
epiphany has begun to lift, with many building new lives free from the
illusion of money.

"It's back to basics for me," Bernard Polk of Waverly, OH said. "I'm
going to till the soil for my own sustenance and get anything else I
need by bartering. If I want milk, I'll pay for it in tomatoes. If need
a new hoe, I'll pay for it in lettuce."

When asked, hypothetically, how he would pay for complicated life-saving surgery for a loved one, Polk seemed uncertain.

"That's a lot of vegetables, isn't it?" he said

Hat Tip Brian, Source: The Onion,


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:02 | Link to Comment ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

I'm double dumbfounded!

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:05 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Hmmm.... and then there is the financial crisis as predicted in movie "Rollover"

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:08 | Link to Comment Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture


I, said Bernanke

With a wave of my hankie

I killed Cock Robin

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:39 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:14 | Link to Comment putbuyer
putbuyer's picture

I feel sick. The earnings - cooking the books story and now this. God, it's funny. I read maybe here or elsewhere that a company like Cisco cooked their books. History will reveal that all this lying was the result on people allowing Barry Obama to do it. The situation for everyone is so dire that I feel for all our future.

Cabin in the woods is all I can say. "Live free or Die"

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:15 | Link to Comment jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

yes this problem of opaque, mendacious finance clearly started with obama as the earlier posted paper about the massive fraud run by the head of the bank of england during the 1920's and 30's demonstrated.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:20 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Thu, 02/18/2010 - 18:54 | Link to Comment jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

He did inherit it.  This is one big 40 year long ride.  Unless Obama was President since 1968?

But, let's get something straight.  Now that he's in charge, he's doing HIS PART similarly to the parts that all presidents since 1968 have played. 

Also if you believe in trickle down economics, you believe in bailouts, because in its most extreme form, bailouts, are nothing more than bigger trickle down economics at work.  So in many respects, if you've been a supply side guy, you've supported the hidden bailouts that the tax cuts of the past 30 years were. (same game, different arena, same non-effects to real economy)

It SAYS Democrat next to Obama, but he sure is presiding like a republican. 

I find it so funny how repubs or dem haters are so quick or so forgetting that the playbook he is following, is the republican playbook.  Just shows how little many republicans believe what they say they do.  Because if a dem does it, it's horrible.

I'll just say it's horrible WHOEVER does it.  Like I have been my whole life. 


1. Obama did inherit it

2. He's done a horrible job of continuing it

But *it* IS the republican playbook he's following, and most repubs are clueless to that and actually harping against what they'd normally think is perfectly fine.

Of course I guess you need two playbooks, one offense, one defense.  The other playbook would be known as corporatism/wall street.   Both sides are whores, but only one sides is the dirtiest on the corner, that combined both supply side with corporatism, and never budged....republicans.

Obama can do what he wants about the situation, still can, any president in office can.  Bush had a shot to change things.  If they choose not to, it's their own fault. (and the answer isn't cutting social spending)

Obama should of let the bets fail, for them to show the true folley that is supply-side econoimcs.  JMK is folly too, gloming on and trying to form a bunk theory on FDR's actions to explain what FDR did.  JMK didn't understand FDR, but everyone since then thinks he did.

He could of ended monetarism, switched to a credit system.  Maintained the value of the dollar with a fixed exchange rat.  Could have passed the HBPA of 2007 to stop the millions of foreclosures. He could have written off the fraudulent debt, and valued the derivatives at what their non-biased statistical model should have shown....just about zero.  He could let it be known he wants congress to pass physical economic expansion through infrastructure and science, instead he throws a drop in an ocean for high speed rail, and basically ends NASA's space program. 

Come to think of it...he still CAN do what's needed, or undo the horrible decisions he's made.  Especailly the deficit panel...see 5th way statistics by panel of 'experts' will be just flat wrong.

Obama gave the republicans a gift.  He could of prosecuted Bush co. and let Americans learn what happened and from the mistakes of Bush, but declined. 

Now the things he didn't find out, are the things he needed to find out.  The biggest bailout of them all? The republicans.  Why? Because he bailed out their philosophy at the cost of himself and his own party (which were at complete odds with that failed philosophy).  Amazingly stupid that he doesn't realize it.  Nor do many of my fellow Americans. 

Now republicans are crowing about nothing.  Because once again they can't see the forest from the trees.  (and actually make themselves look bad)


I bash Obama just like I bashed Bush, because they're idiots. 

Unfortunately, the same people on the other side are clueless on both counts.  They didn't see reality with Bush, and are still ignoring the reality with Obama.  Even though they 'think' they are thinking by bashing Obama because he has skin in the game. Congratulations republicans, you've sucked him into YOUR trap.  It still doesn't absolve republicans that it was THEIR trap that mauled America.  Nor will it help if/when they get back to power, and Obama's failed crappy policies are 1000x better than what they offer.  Yet that 1000x better still equtes to crap.

Funny article, the sad thing is, it's fake but it's fairly a realistic look about how unrealistic people as a whole we are with things we devise, like money, and what we allow it to mean in our lives. 


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 07:51 | Link to Comment 35Pete
35Pete's picture

This opacity is needed for national security reasons. The markets would freeze up if they were transparent. 

Ahh, "national security". Whenever the politicians pull some shit that would get them all hanged in the public square, they pull out the "national security" card.

Ever notice that? 

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:16 | Link to Comment bugs_
bugs_'s picture

Yes its a lot of lettuce!  That ain't hay brutha!


Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:21 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

you should put this on the onion and it will be the modern version of War of the Worlds...

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:22 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

HA  now i see it came from the Onion...  it was totally in their style from the start

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:21 | Link to Comment Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Remember Donald Duck comic books - in Scrooge McDuck's money bin he was diving into coins with only a few green backs sprouting up like weeds here and there; hell if even a duck knows, what does that say about us?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 09:52 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Donald Duck was aware of this;


The U.S. Constitution, Art. I Sec. 10 Cl. 1, states,


"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 10:43 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Of course, Rome has infiltrated and overthrown America.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:36 | Link to Comment waterdog
waterdog's picture

Bravo to the writer; what skill, what imagination, a great sense of humor.

Thanks for the posting ZH.


Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:38 | Link to Comment TheGoodDoctor
TheGoodDoctor's picture

Sources at the White House said President Obama was "still trying to get his head around all this" and was in seclusion with his coin collection, muttering "it's just metal, it's just metal" over and over again.


Oh God, this made me laugh my ass off. Funny stuff.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:42 | Link to Comment Gimp
Gimp's picture

My thoughts exactly, we have made the paper meaningless.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:28 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

Gimp ... please send me all your meaningless paper ... I'll think of something to do with it

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 22:56 | Link to Comment Kayman
Kayman's picture


I cried til I laughed.

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:00 | Link to Comment carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

It's unfortunate that his real job is to protect the value of money.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 07:09 | Link to Comment zhandax
zhandax's picture

No, his real job is to tell you that his real job is to protect the value of money as a distraction while he does the complete opposite.  'Federal Reserve System' and 'protecting the value of money' are oxymorons. Guesss when the Federal Reserve System started in this chart?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 08:09 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:56 | Link to Comment trav7777
trav7777's picture

as long as we recognize that the bankers' conceptualization of money is debt.  They have to protect the viability of debt as an institution.

Nothing scares them more than a jubilee or repudiation...what would the Fed have to DO if we said, yeah we're going back to a commodity or production currency or else purely fiat?

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:02 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:11 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:27 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:01 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:27 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

They may own the place ... but they're still broke

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:37 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:37 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:39 | Link to Comment Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Somebody musta spiked his water with LSD ...

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 04:10 | Link to Comment Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

MK Ultra stikes again!

Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:55 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 07:47 | Link to Comment zhandax
zhandax's picture

Enlightened self interest on the part of the banksters; nothing more.  Here is the original inscription on 1928 series A and B $2 bills (and other currency, the 1928A or B is simply the cheapest if you want to keep one in your wallet to remind you of the truth) "This note is legal tender at its face value for all debts public and private except duties on imports and interest on the public debt."  After realizing how damaging the unvarnished truth could be, the exception was removed on later series (strangely enough after the crash in 1929).

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:58 | Link to Comment trav7777
trav7777's picture

Our money is not fiat money, it is debt money.

It's value comes in that every single dollar in existence is owed to a bank plus interest.  This means you have to return the dollars plus go find more of them.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 19:13 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 23:56 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:25 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

Buy Canadian property

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:04 | Link to Comment monopoly
monopoly's picture

Ahh Tyler, we just love ya.



Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:19 | Link to Comment Joe Sixpack
Joe Sixpack's picture

That was funny!


See this:




Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:15 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:23 | Link to Comment Going Down
Going Down's picture


No Joke


Former Mexican foreign minister calls for ‘North American union’, unified currency

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:17 | Link to Comment Joe Sixpack
Joe Sixpack's picture

"Prolific Mexican politician and intellectual Jorge Castañeda believes that a greater North American community -- a "North American Union" -- with economies tied together under a European Union-style system, compete with open borders and a unified currency, is the wave of the future."


Kinda souinds like 50 states tied together under a European Union federal-style system, compete with open borders and a unified currency...

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:24 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

Sure now that the oil has run out

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 03:54 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Good thing they are aleady ready for it.

It's nice to pretend it's a new idea though.


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

They really are ready, (I'm not religious btw), this video was made in 1995.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 11:59 | Link to Comment trav7777
trav7777's picture

Fuck that, their oligarchs don't have ENOUGH riches???

As if we really want your 3rd world lifestyle up here, buddy.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:29 | Link to Comment Arm
Arm's picture

Unfortunately, too socialistic for my taste.

Yes, money is just a mental construct.

Yes, it is being manipulated shamelessly by governments

However, money matters.  It is the means to allocate scarce resources by means of affecting human volition.

The idea that money does not matter and that it is indeed a "problem" is what socialism is all about.  The "additive principle of economics" - the theory that we are poor because the other guys have too much.  "everything would be alright if we just got rid of money" argument.

I understand the spirit of the post, but I hate to see it reproduced because of the underlying principle.



Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:30 | Link to Comment colonial
colonial's picture

Okay is Fat Tuesday.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.   I expect a more sobering post with Ben back to pumping up dollars rather than burning does beg the question, what are we giving up for lent? 

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:36 | Link to Comment Stuart
Stuart's picture

I see "the onion" gets it.  

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:06 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 01:38 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:06 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:12 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 02/17/2010 - 02:14 | Link to Comment marctmiller
marctmiller's picture


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 05:42 | Link to Comment JimboJammer
JimboJammer's picture

Good  Story...  My  first  thought  was  >>  just  3  weeks  ago  they  passed  a  new  law  about  pulling  $$  out  of  money  market  funds. some  say  money  market  funds  are  not  insured.....this  proves  to  me  that  they  can  see  a  run  on  the  banks  coming....

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 08:40 | Link to Comment brodix
brodix's picture

 The illusion runs much deeper than finance. The whole physics quest for the higgs boson is a search for the basis of mass, yet when you really look into it, particle colliders are like trying to understand automobiles by studying car crashes. The nodes just don't quite explain the networks. In fact, the networks do a slightly better job of explaining the nodes. Form follows function and it is the function of money that matters, rather than its form.

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 10:36 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Bernanke, leaving Washington DC's Federal Reserve building after being found guilt of treason against the United States by the Supreme Court after a complete Fed audit via HR1207/S604, lifts both his arms upwards while his fingers form a two-finger peace sign and says, "I am not a crook".

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 10:48 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

har har har har

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 12:17 | Link to Comment Trader_Kos
Trader_Kos's picture

Eventually he will be gone only to probably be replaced by someone worse


l9l3 FED was founded in a SECRET MEETING on a Island off the coast of South Carolina by BANKSTERS!
Then we have to sell as much of it as we can wherever we can!

"Let me issue and control a NATIONS MONEY and I care NOT who writes the LAWS," Nat_han R0thschi1ds

FED does that for the Financial Aristocracy and D1CTAT0RSHIP!

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 12:45 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) has long been accumulating evidence that indicates that the gold price is suppressed. GATA has implicated the US Government, the Federal Reserve and the major bullion banks as the perpetrators of the scheme. GATA has also explained the motive behind the crime. It is to maintain the purchasing power of the US dollar artificially high by concealing inflation, and as a result keep interest rates artificially low. This is at the core of the “strong dollar” policy instigated by Robert Rubin, but the tools and mechanisms by which this policy is implemented were never explained to the public. They are, however, explained clearly by GATA with mountains of documented evidence (

More at

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 07:28 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture


Wed, 02/17/2010 - 12:21 | Link to Comment Trifecta Man
Trifecta Man's picture

Where is my barbaric relic?  Anyone seen my barbaric relic?

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 12:48 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Yes, it is called the Greenback or the many various bank notes also called dollars. Did you know the United States is actually now on their THIRD central bank system! That is right, there has actually been HUNDREDS of banks in America whose paper currency has gone to ZERO!

Meanwhile gold has gone from $25 an ounce to over $1100.

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 08:47 | Link to Comment Tom123456
Tom123456's picture

ucvhost is a leading web site hosting service provider that is known to provide reliable and affordable hosting packages to customers. The company believes in providing absolute and superior control to the customer as well as complete security and flexibility through its many packages. cheap vps Moreover, the company provides technical support as well as customer service 24x7, in order to enable its customers to easily upgrade their software, install it or even solve their problems. ucvhost offers the following different packages to its customers

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!