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Rational Exuberance

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Sixteen years ago today, Alan Greenspan spoke the now infamous words "irrational exuberance" during an annual dinner speech at The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Much has changed in the ensuing years (and oddly, his speech is worth a read as he draws attention time and again to the tension between the central bank and the government). Most critically, Greenspan was not wrong, just early. And the result of the market's delay in appreciating his warning has resulted in an epic shift away from those same asset classes that were most groomed and loved by Greenspan - Stocks, to those most hated and shunned by the Fed - Precious Metals. While those two words were his most famous, perhaps the following sentences are most prescient: "A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end."

 

 

Since December 5th 1996:

  • Silver +588%
  • Gold +359%
  • S&P 500 +90%
  • EuroStoxx +45%
  • US Treasury Long Bond +33%

 

Greenspan's Speech:

The Challenge of Central Banking in a Democratic Society

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am especially pleased to accept AEI's Francis Boyer Award for 1996 and be listed with so many of my friends and former associates. In my lecture this evening I want to give some personal perspectives on central banking and, consequently, I shall be speaking only for myself.

William Jennings Bryan reportedly mesmerized the Democratic Convention of 1896 with his memorable ". . . you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." His utterances underscored the profoundly divisive role of money in his time--a divisiveness that remains apparent today. Bryan was arguing for monetizing silver at an above-market price in order to expand the money supply. The presumed consequences would have been an increase in product prices and an accompanying shift in the value of net claims on future wealth from the "monied interests" of the East to the indebted farmers of the West who would arguably be able to pay off their obligations with cheaper money.

The debates, before and since, over the issue of our money standard have mirrored the deliberations on the manner in which we have chosen to govern ourselves, and, perhaps more fundamentally, debates on the basic values that should govern our society.

For, at root, money--serving as a store of value and medium of exchange--is the lubricant that enables a society to organize itself to achieve economic progress. The ability to store the fruits of one's labor for future consumption is necessary for the accumulation of capital, the spread of technological advances and, as a consequence, rising standards of living.

Clearly in this context, the general price level, that is, the average exchange rate for money against all goods and services, and how it changes over time, plays a profoundly important role in any society, because it influences the nature and scope of our economic and social relationships over time.

It is, thus, no wonder that we at the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, and ultimate guardian of the purchasing power of our money, are subject to unending scrutiny. Indeed, it would be folly were it otherwise.

A central bank in a democratic society is a magnet for many of the tensions that such a society confronts. Any institution that can affect the purchasing power of the currency is perceived as potentially affecting the level and distribution of wealth among the participants of that society, hardly an inconsequential issue.

Not surprisingly, the evolution of central banking in this nation has been driven by such concerns. The experiences with paper money during the Revolutionary War were decidedly inauspicious. "Not worth a Continental" was scarcely the epithet one would wish on a medium of exchange. This moved Alexander Hamilton, with some controversy, to press for legislation that established the soundness of the credit of the United States by assuming, and ultimately repaying, the war debts not only of the fledgling federal government, but of the states as well. Equally controversial was the chartering of the First Bank of the United States, which, although it had few functions of a modern central bank, was nonetheless believed to be a significant threat to states rights and the Constitution itself.

Although majority controlled by private interests, the Bank engaged in actions perceived to shift power to the federal government. Such a shift was thought of by many as a fundamental threat to the new democracy, and an essential element of what was feared to be a Hamilton plan to re-establish a powerful aristocracy. The First Bank--and especially its successor Second Bank of the United States--endeavored to restrict state bank credit expansion when it appeared inordinate, by gathering bank notes and tendering them for specie. This reduced the reserve base and the ability of the fledgling American banking system to expand credit. The issue of states' rights and concern about the power of the central government reflected the free wheeling individualism of that time. The Second Bank was a major issue of the election of 1832. Earlier in that year, President Andrew Jackson had vetoed the bill to extend its charter, and the election became a referendum on his veto. The outcome was a resounding victory for Jackson and the death knell for the Bank.

It has not been easy, however, to separate often seemingly conflicting threads in the debate between advocates of state powers over money and those seeking a national role. When Andrew Jackson vetoed the charter renewal of the Second Bank of the United States, for example, he argued for the severing of the grip on the economy of easterners and especially foreigners, who owned a significant stock interest in the bank. Ironically, by helping to create what was perceived to be an unstable currency, he set the stage for the later development of a full-fledged gold standard, the institution that Bryan railed against in 1896 from much the same populist philosophical base as Jackson.

After the Civil War, redemption of the paper greenbacks issued during the war brought an era of a gold-standard-induced deflation, which, while it may not have thwarted the impressive advance of industrialization, was seen by many as suppressing credit availability for the rural interests of the nation, which were still a majority. The general price level declined for more than two decades, which meant borrowers were paying off their loans in more expensive dollars than those they borrowed.

Not surprisingly, mounting pressures developed for reform, with Bryan bearing the standard for subsidized silver coinage, that is, free silver. Though Bryan lost to McKinley in 1896 (and again in 1900), the rural-based pressures for a more elastic currency did not diminish and ultimately were reflected, in part, in the creation of the Federal Reserve.

Nonetheless, many of the proponents of banking reform in the 1890s, and in the aftermath of the Panic of 1907, were suspicious of creating a central bank. In very large measure, those concerns underlay the various threads of reform that were joined together in the design and creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Its founding followed a prolonged debate on the balance of power between the interests of the New York money center banks and the rest of the nation, still largely rural. The compromise that resulted from that debate created twelve regional Reserve Banks with a Washington presence vested with a Federal Reserve Board. Its purpose was to "furnish an elastic currency, . . . to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes." Monetary policy as we know it today, was not among the "other purposes." That evolved largely by accident in the 1920s.

Even with a central bank, the gold standard was still the dominant constraint on the issuance of paper currency and the expansion of bank deposits. Accordingly, the Federal Reserve was to play a minor role in affecting the purchasing power of the currency for many years to come.

The world changed markedly with the advent of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the evisceration of the gold standard. The upheaval, and still festering fear of New York "monied interests," engendered the Banking Acts of 1933 and more importantly of 1935, which vested more of the Federal Reserve's authority with the Board of Governors in Washington. During World War II, and through 1951, however, monetary policy was effectively subservient to the interests of the Treasury, which sought access to low-cost credit. With the so-called Federal Reserve-Treasury Accord of 1951, the Federal Reserve began to develop its current degree of independence.

Although in the 1950s and early 1960s there were short-lived bouts of inflation that caused momentary concern about sustained increases in the price level, these events did little to shake the conviction of most that America's economic and financial structure would indefinitely and effectively contain any inflationary forces. This prescription certainly seems to have been reflected in the low inflation premium then embedded in long-term bonds.

That this view was profoundly wrong soon became apparent. The 1970s saw inflation and unemployment simultaneously at relatively elevated levels for some time. The notion that this could occur was nowhere to be found in the conventional wisdom of the economic policy philosophy that developed out of the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s and its subsequent empirical applications. Moreover, these models embodied the view that aggregate demand expansion, from almost any level, would permanently create new jobs. When that expansion carried the economy beyond "full employment" there would be a cost in terms of higher inflation--but only a one-time increase in inflation, so that there existed a permanent trade off between sustainable levels of inflation and employment.

The stagflation of the 1970s required a thorough conceptual overhaul of economic thinking and policymaking. Monetarism, and new insights into the effects of anticipatory expectations on economic activity and price setting, competed strongly against the traditional Keynesianism. Gradually the power of state intervention to achieve particular economic outcomes came to be seen as much more limited. A consensus gradually emerged in the late 1970s that inflation destroyed jobs, or at least could not create them.

This view has become particularly evident in the communiques that have emanated from the high-level international gatherings of the past quarter century. That inflation could reduce employment was a highly controversial subject in the mid-1970s when introduced into communique language drafts. At the meetings I attended as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, the notion invariably induced extended debates. Today in similar communiques such language is accepted boiler plate and rarely the focus of discussion. This shift in attitudes and understanding provided political support in 1980 and thereafter for the type of monetary policy required to rebalance the economy.

Despite waxing and waning over the decades, a deep-seated tension still exists over government's role as an economic policymaker. This tension is evident in Congressional debates, campaign rhetoric, and our ubiquitous talk shows.

It should not be a surprise that the very same ambiguities and conflicts that characterize the rest of our political life have their reflection in the nation's current view of its central bank, the Federal Reserve. With regard to monetary policy, the view--or at least the suspicion--still persists in some quarters that an activist, expansionary policy could yield dividends in terms of permanently higher output and employment.

Nonetheless, there is a grudging acceptance of the degree of independence afforded our institution, and an awareness that unless we are free of the appropriations process that our independence could be compromised. It is generally recognized and appreciated that if the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions were subject to Congressional or Presidential override, short-term political forces would soon dominate. The clear political preference for lower interest rates would unleash inflationary forces, inflicting severe damage on our economy.

Notwithstanding, the central bank has not been immune from the suspicion and lack of respect that has come to afflict virtually all institutions in our society since the traumas of Vietnam, Watergate, and the destabilizing inflation in the 1970s.

The Federal Reserve's most important mission, of course, is monetary policy. I wish I could say that there is a bound volume of immutable instructions on my desk on how effectively to implement policy to achieve our goals of maximum employment, sustainable economic growth, and price stability. Instead, we have to deal with a dynamic, continuously evolving economy whose structure appears to change from business cycle to business cycle, an issue I shall return to shortly.

Because monetary policy works with a lag, we need to be forward looking, taking actions to forestall imbalances that may not be visible for many months. There is no alternative to basing actions on forecasts, at least implicitly. It means that often we need to tighten or ease before the need for action is evident to the public at large, and that policy may have to reverse course from time to time as the underlying forces acting on the economy shift. This process is not easy to get right at all times, and it is often difficult to convey to the American people, whose support is essential to our mission.

Because the Fed is perceived as being capable of significantly affecting the lives of all Americans, that we should be subject to constant scrutiny should not come as any surprise. Indeed, speaking as a citizen, and not Fed Chairman, I would be concerned were it otherwise. Our monetary policy independence is conditional on pursuing policies that are broadly acceptable to the American people and their representatives in the Congress.

Augmenting concerns about the Federal Reserve is the perception that we are a secretive organization, operating behind closed doors, not always in the interests of the nation as a whole. This is regrettable, and we continuously strive to alter this misperception.

If we are to maintain the confidence of the American people, it is vitally important that, excepting the certain areas where the premature release of information could frustrate our legislated mission, the Fed must be as transparent as any agency of government. It cannot be acceptable in a democratic society that a group of unelected individuals are vested with important responsibilities, without being open to full public scrutiny and accountability.

To be sure, if we are to carry out effectively the monetary policy mission the Congress has delegated to us, there are certain Federal Reserve deliberations that have to remain confidential for a period of time. To open up our debates on monetary policy fully to immediate disclosure would unsettle financial markets and constrain our discussions in a manner that would undercut our ability to function. Nonetheless, we continue to look for ways to expand the flow of information to the public without compromising our deliberations and purposes. We have recently commenced to announce all policy actions immediately (federal funds rate changes as well as discount rate changes) and have expanded the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee.

For many years, the Federal Reserve has maintained what we trust is a highly sophisticated day-by-day, near real-time, evaluation of the American economy and, where relevant, of foreign economies as well. We are able, partly through our twelve Reserve Banks, to monitor continuously developments in the real world. The information supplied about local conditions by the directors of the Reserve Banks has been frequently useful in identifying emerging national trends and in evaluating their underlying regional implications.

The issues with which we are confronted differ in urgency over time. Inflation concerns were not a dominant factor in economic forecasting in the 1950s and early 1960s, for example. Since the late 1970s, however, such concerns have become an important element in policymaking. More recently inflation has been low, but its future course remains uncertain. The development of comfortable product, but tight labor, markets has been a crucial factor in short-term economic forecasts of recent months--a phenomenon for which there is scant historic precedent.

There is, regrettably, no simple model of the American economy that can effectively explain the levels of output, employment, and inflation. In principle, there may be some unbelievably complex set of equations that does that. But we have not been able to find them, and do not believe anyone else has either.

Consequently, we are led, of necessity, to employ ad hoc partial models and intensive informative analysis to aid in evaluating economic developments and implementing policy. There is no alternative to this, though we continuously seek to enhance our knowledge to match the ever growing complexity of the world economy.

At different times in our history a varying set of simple indicators seemed successfully to summarize the state of monetary policy and its relationship to the economy. Thus, during the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, trends in money supply, first M1, then M2, were useful guides. We could convey the thrust of our policy with money supply targets, though we felt free to deviate from those targets for good reason. This presumably helped the Congress, after the fact, to monitor our contribution to the performance of the economy. I should add that during this period we maintained a fully detailed analysis of the economy, in part, to make sure that money supply was still emitting reliable signals about the state of the economy.

Unfortunately, money supply trends veered off path several years ago as a useful summary of the overall economy. Thus, to keep the Congress informed on what we are doing, we have been required to explain the full complexity of the substance of our deliberations, and how we see economic relationships and evolving trends.

There are some indications that the money demand relationships to interest rates and income may be coming back on track. It is too soon to tell, and in any event we can not in the future expect to rely a great deal on money supply in making monetary policy. Still, if money growth is better behaved, it would be helpful in the conduct of policy and in our communications with the Congress and the public. In the absence of simple, summary indicators, we will continue our detailed evaluation of economic developments. As we seek price stability and maximum sustainable growth, the changing economic structures constantly present more analytic challenges.

I doubt the tasks will become any easier for the Federal Reserve as we move into the twenty-first century. The Congress willing, we will remain as the guardian of the purchasing power of the dollar. But one factor that will continue to complicate that task is the increasing difficulty of pinning down the notion of what constitutes a stable general price level.

When industrial product was the centerpiece of the economy during the first two-thirds of this century, our overall price indexes served us well. Pricing a pound of electrolytic copper presented few definitional problems. The price of a ton of cold rolled steel sheet, or a linear yard of cotton broad woven fabrics, could be reasonably compared over a period of years.

But as the century draws to a close, the simple notion of price has turned decidedly ambiguous. What is the price of a unit of software or a legal opinion? How does one evaluate the price change of a cataract operation over a ten-year period when the nature of the procedure and its impact on the patient changes so radically. Indeed, how will we measure inflation, and the associated financial and real implications, in the twenty-first century when our data--using current techniques--could become increasingly less adequate to trace price trends over time?

So long as individuals make contractual arrangements for future payments valued in dollars, there must be a presumption on the part of those involved in the transaction about the future purchasing power of money. No matter how complex individual products become, there will always be some general sense of the purchasing power of money both across time and across goods and services. Hence, we must assume that embodied in all products is some unit of output and hence of price that is recognizable to producers and consumers and upon which they will base their decisions. Doubtless, we will develop new techniques of price measurement to unearth them as the years go on. It is crucial that we do, for inflation can destabilize an economy even if faulty price indexes fail to reveal it.

But where do we draw the line on what prices matter? Certainly prices of goods and services now being produced--our basic measure of inflation--matter. But what about futures prices or more importantly prices of claims on future goods and services, like equities, real estate, or other earning assets? Are stability of these prices essential to the stability of the economy?

Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade? And how do we factor that assessment into monetary policy? We as central bankers need not be concerned if a collapsing financial asset bubble does not threaten to impair the real economy, its production, jobs, and price stability. Indeed, the sharp stock market break of 1987 had few negative consequences for the economy. But we should not underestimate or become complacent about the complexity of the interactions of asset markets and the economy. Thus, evaluating shifts in balance sheets generally, and in asset prices particularly, must be an integral part of the development of monetary policy.

The public examination of Federal Reserve actions extends well beyond our stewardship of monetary policy. Our overall management of the Federal Reserve System should, and does, come under considerable scrutiny by the Congress. Since we expend unappropriated taxpayer funds, we have an especial obligation to be prudent and efficient with the use of those funds. I am not particularly concerned about the one-third of our annual $2 billion budget that is expended to provide financial services to the private sector in competition with other providers. Such services include the clearing of checks, the operation of the Fedwire system, and the processing of automated clearing house payments. We are reimbursed for those services, and at competitive prices still make a reasonable profit for the Treasury. If we became inefficient and uncompetitive, we would be priced out of the market, and eventually out of that line of business.

An additional one-sixth of our expenses are for providing services to the Treasury and other agencies of government for which we are subject to reimbursement with appropriated funds. For the remainder, which mainly covers monetary policy, supervision and regulation of banks, and currency operations, we have to be especially diligent, for there is no external arbiter.

The rapidly changing technologies of recent years are pressing us to review thoroughly our structure and operations. We have already engaged in major consolidations of operations when such consolidations have been made cost effective by the newer technologies. Although in my experience the Federal Reserve System has been responsible, efficient, and has performed well, the rapidly changing external environment frequently requires us to rethink our role and mission. Even where we can be competitive, it is not the role of a government agency, especially one vested with an unsurpassable credit rating, to seek out all available market opportunities. Accordingly, where specific priced services have become effectively and competitively provided by private sector suppliers, the Federal Reserve needs to reassess whether the extent of our participation in those services fulfills a reasonable public purpose. There are, of course, certain services that the Congress has, and will in the future, deem appropriate for us to subsidize. But these areas presumably will remain circumscribed.

As a step in our periodic reassessment, a special committee of Federal Reserve Board governors and Reserve Bank presidents has been set up to review our priced services operations and other Systemwide activities.

Another step has been to engage outside accounting firms to audit the Federal Reserve Board and the twelve Reserve Banks. We had been quite satisfied with the Board as general auditor of the Reserve Banks since 1914. But the range of activities and the reach of the Federal Reserve in recent years requires us to address the perception that we are auditing ourselves without the full arm's length relationship deemed appropriate in today's environment.

Finally, the substantial changes under way in bank risk management are pressing us to continuously alter our modes of supervision and regulation to keep them as effective and efficient as possible.

Most importantly, all of our recent initiatives, especially the strengthening of the payments system and supervision, are critical to a central mission of the Federal Reserve, to maintain financial stability and reduce and contain systemic risks. This mission is an extension of our monetary policy. Our country can not enjoy the long-run "maximum employment and stable prices" objectives we are given for monetary policy if the financial system is unstable. In this regard, the successes that most please us are not so much the visible problems that we solve, but rather all the potential crises that could have happened, but didn't.

Doubtless, the most important defense against such crises is prevention. Recent mini-crises have identified the rapidly mushrooming payments system as the most vulnerable area of potential danger. We have no tolerance for error in our electronic payment systems. Like a breakdown in an electric power grid, small mishaps create large problems. Consequently, we have endeavored in recent years, as the demands on our system have escalated (we clear $1-1/2 trillion a day on Fedwire), to build in significant safety redundancies. This has been costly in terms of equipment and buildings.

Along with our other central bank colleagues, we are always looking for ways to reduce the risks that the failure of a single institution will ricochet around the world, shutting down much of the world payments system, and significantly undermining the world's economies. Accordingly, we are endeavoring to get as close to a real time transaction, clearing, and settlement system as possible. This would sharply reduce financial float and the risk of breakdown. Meaningful progress has already been made in this direction.

This evening I have tried to put current central banking issues in historical context. Monetary arrangements, including central banks, naturally are under constant scrutiny and criticism. This is no less true of the Federal Reserve in 1996 than of the gold standard in 1896. Central banks need to respond patiently and responsibly to the commentary, and we need to adapt to changing circumstances in markets and the economy.

A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end.

 

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Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:18 | 3036925 mrktwtch2
mrktwtch2's picture

can we get a fed chairman that is not a jew??

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:24 | 3036943 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

 

We get two straight jews and people think there is some conspiracy for the jews to take over the world of finance.  Guess what?  It isn't about religion, it is about power, and at the top of the power structure their are Christians and Jews.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:24 | 3036950 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

How about we just called them evil rotten greedy fuckers instead?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:27 | 3036966 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

So a man who is one of a handful that engineered the crisis can be seen as being early in warning about it?

Sweet.

Greenspin

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:30 | 3036972 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

You noticed that too?

Ole Greenie was pretty good at covering his bases.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:45 | 3037013 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

He sure was!

Greenspan's half-hearted mea culpa.

" I discovered a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works. I had been going for 40 years with considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

This his "oops" moment as lives are destroyed.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:53 | 3037043 jcaz
jcaz's picture

Wow- I didn't realize he had taken even THAT much responsibility for his over-tweaking...

Tho it was "the model's" fault, of course.....

Hey Al-  history WILL blame you as one of the primary factors of this mess-  a $60K/yr bureaucrat gone rockstar,  and you ate it up EVERY day......

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:16 | 3037122 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

"It is, thus, no wonder that we at the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, and ultimate guardian of the purchasing power of our money, are subject to unending scrutiny. Indeed, it would be folly were it otherwise."

 

Things to do: 

1) Audit the Fed. ( Indeed it would be folly not to do... )

2) End the Fed

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 18:17 | 3037363 macholatte
macholatte's picture

 

Most critically, Greenspan was not wrong, just early. And the result of the market's delay in appreciating his warning has resulted in an epic shift away from those same asset classes that were most groomed and loved by Greenspan - Stocks, to those most hated and shunned by the Fed - Precious Metals. While those two words were his most famous, perhaps the following sentences are most prescient: "A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end."

 

No need to read anymore after that. 

Greenspan acted like a heroin dealer. He got the kids hooked and then said he wasn't responsible and warned that the kids were getting high and it wasn't reality...... but kept feeding them the H.  He is/was the personification of failure and hypocrisy. The concept that pumping a "market" is somehow good and there will never be consequences is the essence negligence by a top government leader. JMHO

There Is A New Committee To Save The World, And Markets Are Going To Surge Like Crazy

http://www.businessinsider.com/david-zervos-committee-to-save-the-world-...


Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:58 | 3037772 old naughty
old naughty's picture

Greenspan was not wrong, he's "rational" too early...

It's us who are "ir-"...

Power to muppets.   V.

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 01:55 | 3038368 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

I'm officially OLD.

I thought that phrase happened around 2008 (recession time).

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:05 | 3037088 fourchan
fourchan's picture

the systemic problems are caused by the fed past pure and simple, it is the system

behind the federal reserve system. to enslave the poulation to debt and capture all the assets.

 

and the system has been working perfectly for 100 years.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:16 | 3037141 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

keynesian stewardship: a modest proposal

listen up, lobbyists

a person's actual income tax rate is r

r = P/I (taxPaid divided by totalIncome)

the keynesian infinite-series thing sez keep moving the money through the system to produce a total flow of P/(1-r) from that initial flow of P

a slight modification -- SLIGHT -- to existing tax code:

next year, treasury sends you and your employer a thank-you check based on the amount P you've paid and the rate r of income it represented, such as

thank-you check = P (1+r)10

employers whose employees contribute a high rate of tax are rewarded

so are those employees

if those employees tend to buy shit from the pool of companies employing high rate payers, then the geometric goodness gets baked in, going forward

this is a treasury *win*, since the keynes thing will produce a sum to infinity, but the rebate-receiver only gets the first 10 terms of the infinite series.

keynesian circle (jerk) of life 'n' demand 'n' consumption 'n' flow 'n' tax

sumners: holy shit! why didn't I think of that!

geithners: this fixes everything!

krugners: start putting money into the hands of high tax rate payers *immediately*!

blankners: I'm increasing my rate *today*!

dimers: I increased mine *yesterday*!

 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:48 | 3037027 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

its their age old game .....wash rinse repeat....all planned and it works every time.....just like the parabolic bubbles that are formed and the reaction of the peeps that will all eventually get the flush........aint it beeeeeutiful how simple they do it

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:59 | 3037056 CH1
CH1's picture

How about we just called them evil rotten greedy fuckers instead?

Yes, that would be good, but these trolls are not interested in reasonable discourse. Rather, they are interested in:

a. pulling you away from the topic, and

b. wasting your time and energy.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:51 | 3037038 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture

Are you kidding me? Deluded? Or part of the team?

The fucking Jews, via BB netenyahho, get up and lecture Congress on Foriegn Policy.

I'll bet more than 75% of Congress is either jews or marronos.

Who do you think runs the show????

Who do you think starts these wars?

I'll bet you would be surprised to see how many American citizens go serve their tour in the IDF when they graduate High School.

They will say it is a vacation.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:19 | 3037155 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

Follow the money..  I am convinced Lockheed and Haliburton use the 'conflicts' as part of their marketing campaign.  Zionists are perfect psychopaths that play along. But it has been going on since the time Da Vinci wrote his resume about the cannons he built to a power hungry ruler:

 

http://drseanharry.com/what-makes-you-unique/brand-you/leonardo-davincis-resume/

 

 

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 02:00 | 3038378 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

We need a ZH'er to infiltrate the ranks of politico elite and report the TRUE cause of our.......unhappiness.

Which company/entity EXACTLY are we all working to enrich??

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:53 | 3037046 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Guess what it isn't even about religion. It's about themselves, their interests, and THEIR country, Israel.

They support themselves above all else at the expense to all other non chosen people.

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 01:46 | 3038346 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

It's nationalism, tribalism, a brotherhood, a club, a mafia.  The perpetrators and their PR men just want to confuse the issue by bringing the straw man of religion into the equation.  It's irrelevant.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:53 | 3037044 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

The Greed continues.

 

http://ericsprott.blogspot.ca/

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:19 | 3036932 fireangelmaverick
fireangelmaverick's picture

"Bernanke Begins" is that first in a trilogy.

Followed by,

The Dark Central banker?

 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:24 | 3036954 bobthehorse
bobthehorse's picture

There's nothing Bernanke can do. 

If you cut spending and go with austerity measures, you end up in a deflationary depression.

If you continue to print money, you end up with an endless Japanese-style recession.

Berananke's a boob.  So was Greenspan.

But we're gonna be stuck riding this out till the next big war.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:32 | 3036975 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Rather than boob, I'd put Greenspin in the "captured intellectual" category (along with his mentor Ayn Rand). Just like Rand, he understands full well the role of gold in restraining government from stealing the wealth of the populace.

Yet he did it anyway (while she approved), and was rewarded handsomely for his service.

These days he's returning to his roots in an effort to shiny up his facade, which is used to cover the memory-hole.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:46 | 3037286 walküre
walküre's picture

You're probably right there's nothing Bernanke can do but that statement is more a qualification of the person himself.

A real government with real leadership and real control over the currency of this nation could do quite a few things to get through this and back on track. But it would be the end of a fairy tale and a lifestyle in utopia and lala land.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:21 | 3036933 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I guess by 'stable and effectively functioning economy' the FED means 'zero real production, part time menial task 'workfarce', and printing clownbux to shore up bankrupt TBTF banks while debt is kicked 12 generations down for the benefit of pumping precious stocks and bonds today'....OK got it.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:19 | 3036935 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Silver kicking ass and taking names to this day.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:20 | 3036937 surf0766
surf0766's picture

His wife is on the communist channel.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:33 | 3036980 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Well, that desription does little to narrow down the choices.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:20 | 3036941 PUD
PUD's picture

What word is stronger than hate?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:22 | 3036945 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

loathe?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:40 | 3037004 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

despise.  revile.  abhor.  detest. 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:39 | 3037002 inevitablecollapse
inevitablecollapse's picture

abhor

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:39 | 3037003 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

odium

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:28 | 3036967 ArkansasAngie
ArkansasAngie's picture

Blah blah blah
Too bad such good words are spoken by liars and cheats

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:31 | 3036976 Gubbmint Cheese
Gubbmint Cheese's picture

Dec 5/96 US debt: $5.296T

Dec 5/12 US debt $16.347T

up 208%.. yes we can.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:43 | 3037014 Dr.Vannostrand
Dr.Vannostrand's picture

You didn't build that!

Today is my ZH bday, thanks to Tylers and all the commenters for extending my education. What I've learned here has far exceeded what I took from college. Hopefully there are many others in my age group (31) reading and learning here. Again, thanks to all, even you MDB.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:35 | 3036978 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Holy shit that was 16 years ago?

My how the bubbles fly, fly away...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:38 | 3036996 tooriskytoinvest
tooriskytoinvest's picture

2013 - Year of The Great Crash - Expect Immediate Negative Impact From Higher Taxes - Fed To Launch Fresh New Bond Buying - Hyperinflation Possible As Early As 2013 - EVERYTHING IN PAPER IS GOING TO HELL!

 http://investmentwatchblog.com/2013-year-of-the-great-crash-expect-immediate-negative-impact-from-higher-taxes-fed-to-launch-fresh-new-bond-buying-hyperinflation-possible-as-early-as-2013/

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:39 | 3037000 game theory
game theory's picture

History will show that Volcker is the superior economist when compared to Greenspan. Even today, Volcker tries to stabilize things...but Volcker's influence is greatly diminished by men and women eager to loot the country for their own personal gain. That is too bad for all of us. 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:49 | 3037293 bgbarrelridr
bgbarrelridr's picture

Congressman Ron Paul, well known as a harsh critic of the Federal Reserve, has offered qualified praise of Volcker:

Being in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s and serving on the House Banking Committee, I met and got to question several Federal Reserve chairmen: Arthur Burns, G. William Miller and Paul Volcker. Of the three, I had the most interaction with Volcker. He was more personable and smarter than the others, including the more recent board chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.[16]

Congressman Ron Paul also said in a 2011 presidential debate that "If I had to name a Federal Reserve chairman that did a little bit of good, that would be Paul Volcker."

 

From Wiki; take it for what's it's  worth

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:39 | 3037001 GFORCE
GFORCE's picture

Bernanke just picked up the mess that the "maestro" created.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:47 | 3037026 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

No, Ben Shalom Bernanke was standing right next to him (2002-2005) and leading the charge on the housing bubble.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:45 | 3037022 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

The fact Greenspan is still alive at age 437 tells me some "higher power" is playing some sort of cruel fucking joke on us.

 

This is totally FUBAR.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:50 | 3037031 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Maria Bartiroma is actually showing a lot more reality in her conversations as of late. Rather than spewing the buy buy buy you typically see on CNBC. I can't think she'll be there much longer. Save Santelli the rest are there to keep repeating the same old BS.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:08 | 3037104 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

she probably finally looked in the mirror and realized her fat ass cannot out run the hordes

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:19 | 3037159 gdiamond22
gdiamond22's picture

What is CNBC? I've heard that it is an adult version of Sesame Street?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:55 | 3037051 mccoyspace
mccoyspace's picture

"A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to the end of that."

There, I fixed the typo.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:09 | 3037101 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

+1

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 16:57 | 3037055 helping_friendl...
helping_friendly_book's picture

For those that missed this the other day:

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH

In an alternate version of the famous scene from A Few Good Men, I picture myself telling Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner that I want the truth and his angry truthful response:

Son, we live in a world that has Wall Street banks, and those banks have to be guarded by puppet politicians in Washington D.C. with lobbyist written laws and Madison Avenue PR maggots with media propaganda. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Representative Paul? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the average middle class American family, and you curse the ruling oligarchs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the death of the American middle class, while tragic, probably saved the bonuses of thousands of Wall Street bankers. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, increases the wealth of these same bankers who destroyed the worldwide economic system in 2008. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about in the food bank line, you want me on Wall Street, you need me on Wall Street. We use words like derivative, fiscal stimulus, quantitative easing. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent syphoning off the wealth of the nation. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very debt that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up 1000 shares of Apple, and hope our high frequency trading supercomputers can ramp the market for a while longer. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”


Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:02 | 3037070 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

"A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end."

I laughed so hard, I sharted.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:25 | 3037181 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

you will never find him in this country when it all falls apart. Between he and Bernanke I don't know which I'd rather see go first.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 21:02 | 3037783 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Sharted ?  Is that like an Atomic Fart .... it has a little fall out ?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:07 | 3037094 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i miss the good old days of 1996

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 18:05 | 3037346 Being Free
Being Free's picture

In some ways I miss those sheep skin wearing, pre-awakening days myself...I miss my job, I miss the innocent belief that there were men of character in government and the corporate structure above me, I miss looking at old glory and feeling pride, I miss the optimisim borne of a feeling of a "better tomorow".  That first step, "not fooling yourself" is a hard one.

Oh well, we have to play the hand we're dealt.

Stack 'em and load 'em.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:10 | 3037112 jack stephan
jack stephan's picture

Jimmy: Mr. McClure, I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?
Troy McClure: [laughing] No, Jimmy, just ignorant. You see, your crazy friend never heard of the food chain. Just ask this scientitian.
Scientist: Uhhh...
Troy McClure: He'll tell you that in nature one creature invariably eats another to survive. Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!
Jimmy: Wow, Mr. McClure, I was a Grade A Moron to ever question eating meat.
Troy McClure: Ha Ha Ha Ha... Yes you were, Jimmy. Yes you were. [playfully rubs Jimmy's head]
Jimmy: You're hurting me...

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 18:12 | 3037364 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Holy Cow!

Are you the REAL Jack Stephan? The Toilet king?

You were my SoCal hero back in the day.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 21:02 | 3037782 Dr.Vannostrand
Dr.Vannostrand's picture

LMAO! Jack Stephanovich? No, Jack Stephan!

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 17:11 | 3037119 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

regarding...

"Since December 5th 1996:

  • Silver +588%
  • Gold +359%
  • S&P 500 +90%
  • EuroStoxx +45%
  • US Treasury Long Bond +33%"

I would like to see a few projections of what those figures would look like in fifteen years compared to today....

I know one thing, the long bond won't show even a 33% incrase...

 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 18:04 | 3037342 Catflappo
Catflappo's picture

What a fuck-knuckle Greenspan was!    And Bernanke has effortlessly taken the baton from him.

What a pair of intellectually-challenged dimwits to have in charge of the world's financial system.

I know, we'll fight "irrational exuberance" by lowering interest rates.

 

For fucking crying out loud, give me strength!

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:44 | 3037742 Monedas
Monedas's picture

To really believe Keynes and Ponzi .... you have to have mental problems !    To not believe and knowingly foist either on the public .... you have to be a crook !

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 18:39 | 3037447 Observer
Observer's picture

It's the other way around..a democratic society is a requirement for a stable and functioning economy for if all views aren't considered in formulating economic policy we will have neither a stable nor a functioning economy for free and willing people are required to construct that economy

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 19:36 | 3037593 blindman
blindman's picture

@.."Nonetheless, there is a grudging acceptance of the degree of independence afforded our institution, and an awareness that unless we are free of the appropriations process that our independence could be compromised. It is generally recognized and appreciated that if the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decisions were subject to Congressional or Presidential override, short-term political forces would soon dominate. The clear political preference for lower interest rates would unleash inflationary forces, inflicting severe damage on our economy." ..
.
comment: spoken like, or as, a true narcissist with
a god complex. (thinks he is doing or is the one
and only god or leader of those chosen by god to do
god's work which includes sheering the sheeple
from time to time and eating a few pounds
of the lamb flesh) . it is not the lamb's own flesh,
it is the fed's meal, from time to time.
he said these things in 1996, how things have changed
in so few 16 years.
.
what he feared might happen happened but differently. the fed
lowered interest rates to cream the fees, securitization
potential, charges and general debt level to the boon
of the financial sector and banksters as systemically
indispensable parasites,(bailed out, tbtf, so help
me god, praise be in the highest) but, it was not out of
short term political concerns of mere local representatives of the people, (not bailed out but
the water does naturally subside leaving mold and
sea water damaged-also petroleum contaminated-debris and ruined construction materials; it was out of a long term
banker strategy to , as the nazis before them wished
to do, TAKE OVER THE WORLD ! own it by law, hook and crook, all of it. including the future and the value
of the unborn should they survive the many gauntlets.
RATIONAL exuberance indeed, no, that was supposed to be
irrational exuberance. even "crazy eddy" knew he was insane, think about that !
the "severe damage", he got that right. the fed has
brought into question the meaning of the word economy and
money. for that we owe them a debt of gratitude, a mere
sentiment and no more; they already stole everything else.
mr. panos explains better ....
mr. panos vlogs
http://www.mrpanos.net/p/my-vlogs-malaka.html
.
Financial "Crisis" in Greece
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvl9N9GdraQ

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:15 | 3037669 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Greenspeak:  Victorian, ornate, pseudo intellectual, professorial verbiage spoken in a hesitant, stuttering manner with basically poor word choices !   Bad speaking is an excellent indicator of flawed thinking processes !  Remember George Peppard in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" explaining how he got his ring in a box of Cracker Jacks ?  The world needs more Hemingways and Monedasses !

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:12 | 3037679 woggie
woggie's picture

the beast is on the gobble
and all that matters is we're all headed for it's belly
http://youtu.be/ntmthFyaYzY

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:15 | 3037689 akak
akak's picture

Fuck you and your spamming already.

Take it elsewhere, you piece of shit.

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:33 | 3037723 Monedas
Monedas's picture

You need a comma after "spamming" or you could use my four dots invention ? After "elsewhere", I would have used a semi-colon ?

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:39 | 3037737 akak
akak's picture

%#@tHankS for, the , GraMMAR LeSSoN! ! , MoNeDAs !* !%@#&*

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 20:49 | 3037751 Monedas
Monedas's picture

I really don't understand "semi-colon" .... sounds kind of like "half-assed" ?

Thu, 12/06/2012 - 06:54 | 3038616 R_J
R_J's picture

 "A democratic society requires a stable and effectively functioning economy. I trust that we and our successors at the Federal Reserve will be important contributors to that end."

-but...

 "I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant"

-so...

"If I have made myself clear then you have misunderstood me"

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