Bernankespeak, Translated

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Jonathan Weil (@JonathanWeil), originally posted at Bloomberg,

Until now, I have refrained from trying to explain Fedspeak to the masses. The truth is it's not opaque. It's not indecipherable. It's simple. Or at least you can choose to believe it is, as I have.

At last week’s press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded questions from reporters employed by some of the world's most esteemed news organizations. Here is a summary, translated from Fedspeak into ordinary American English and heavily condensed for easy tweeting. (Compare it to a raw transcript, if you like.)

BERNANKE: Good afternoon. The Federal Open Market Committee concluded a two-day meeting earlier today. The economy has good things and bad things. We're on top of it. QE will continue. Subject to change. It depends.

STEVE LIESMAN, CNBC: Can you clarify something?


LIESMAN: So if unemployment falls to 7 percent, then what?

Bernanke: There are many factors we look at. Next question.

JON HILSENRATH, Wall Street Journal: The Fed has an awful track record of forecasting the economy. You sound optimistic. Why should we believe you now?

BERNANKE: We'll see. If we're wrong, we'll adjust.

ALISTER BULL, Reuters: Could you explain the bond market to me?

BERNANKE: That's a good question. No.

ROBIN HARDING, Financial Times: It's your fault that interest rates soared after you testified to Congress last month. You know that, right?

BERNANKE: Well, we were a little puzzled by that. Our policies depend on a lot of factors.

YLAN MUI, Washington Post: Obama says you've stayed too long. You agree?

BERNANKE: I don’t have anything for you on my personal plans.

CRAIG TORRES, Bloomberg News: We'd like to push for a little deeper explanation on thresholds and triggers.

BERNANKE: I'm sure you would.

BINYAMIN APPELBAUM, New York Times: I want to talk about thresholds and triggers, too.

BERNANKE: Low rates. Large portfolio. Large stimulus. Bringing economy smoothly towards full employment. No costs. No risks. I am the Walrus.

VICTORIA McGRANE, Dow Jones Newswires: Aren't you worried?


PETER COOK, Bloomberg Television: Won't your exit strategy be hard?


DONNA BORAK, American Banker: When are you going to pass all those new rules under Dodd-Frank?


BORAK: That wasn't a yes-or-no question.

BERNANKE: Who knows? Takes time.

PETER BARNES, Fox Business Network: Why aren't you going to Jackson Hole?

BERNANKE: Stop asking me personal questions.

STEVE BECKNER, Market News International: It's June 2013. You haven't even begun to scale back asset purchases. What's wrong with you? Could you elaborate?

BERNANKE: There's a range of estimates.

SCOTT SPOERRY, CNN Money: Haven't you messed up the mortgage-backed securities market forever?


SPOERRY: Really?


GREG ROBB, Could you go over that tapering thing again?

BERNANKE: We may do more. We may do less.

RYAN AVENT, the Economist: Mr. Chairman, why aren't you worried about inflation being so low?

BERNANKE: I agree. It's a problem. On it.

KEVIN HALL, McClatchy Newspapers: Is Hilsenrath the real power behind the throne?

BERNANKE: (Silence).

KATE DAVIDSON, Politico: The Securities and Exchange Commission hasn't fixed money-market funds. Why haven't you?

BERNANKE: Why should I?

AKIO FUJII, Nikkei: Why are you killing my country's stock market?

BERNANKE: Hey, blame the Bank of Japan. Not me.

MARK HAMRICK, Why do the other Fed governors let you hold press conferences like this?

BERNANKE: You want me to leave? Okay, fine. Thank you.

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fonzannoon's picture

JON HILSENRATH, Wall Street Journal: I love you. I just wanted to say I love you.

Political_Savage's picture

BERNANKE: Shut up, you already fucked up your simple task. Stop crying or you'll have to service Yellin again... you remember the last time!

Skateboarder's picture

"Is there still time to get in?"

xtop23's picture

"Yes. There's time for you to get in at the top of the market and get ripped to pieces along with every other investor who doesn't recieve a tip 0.005ms before major policy changes are announced. Next question, please. I have an important meeting at Bohemian Grove I have to attend. Let's keep things moving."

I have to admit this article cracked me up. 

Yancey Ward's picture

You owe me two bottles of prescription MindWipe.

Political_Savage's picture

BULLARD: Hey, what the fucks going on in here. This isn't what we agreed to in the meeting! What's Hilsenrath doing to Yellin!!

ekm's picture

Ok, let me repeat this again.


Federal Reserve has got not much to do with the monetary policy, that is done at the White House and Congress.


Federal Reserve is literally the KGB of Finance. Its job is simply and only to spread PROPAGANDA.


Anybody who reads and comments on any single word of the Chairman is totally fooled.

francis_sawyer's picture

Yeah... Rothschild, Schroder, Lazard, Kuhn & Loeb, Brown Bros Harriman [Bush] ALL answer to 'Wiggles, Chewbacca, & Bawney Frank'...

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Isn't there a Schiff in there also?  Or do they get a GOOJF card, given the modern libertarian name-sake?

francis_sawyer's picture

Normally... GOOJF cards are reserved for good looking Hollywood actresses [or the 'Producers/Directors' they gave blowjobs to to get their starring roles]... When it comes to politicians like Feinstein, or 'Reserve Bank' gophers like Yellen, they're so fucking batshit ugly that it renders the GOOJF variant unuseable...

ekm's picture

To whomever who doesn't understand what I'm saying I recommend one and one thing only:


Stop watching TV. Not watching TV decontaminates your brain from propaganda

francis_sawyer's picture

To whomever who doesn't understand what I'm saying I recommend one and one thing only:


I didn't learn about Rothschild, Lazard, Kuhn & Loeb, & Brown Bros Harriman by fucking watching TV...

Divine Wind's picture



JON HILSENRATH, Wall Street Journal:  Is the offer of the use of your guest bungalow on Grand Cayman still open, or do you want us to go to St. Kitts?

The Invisible Foot's picture

"I am the Walrus" -Ben

ebworthen's picture

"Goo goo, g' joob!

Expert, texpert choking smokers
Don't you think the joker laughs at you?

See how they smile like pigs in a sty

See how they snide, I'm crying..."

Whatta's picture

Krugman: ummm, whatcha doing Friday night, Ben?

Bernank: I am available...9'ish. Wear lip gloss and a girl wig. No need to shave though...I like the extra tickle.

dtwn's picture

Wow, just wow.  That is very powerful.  Not a soldier so I have no clue to what they face, but from what I can imagine from seeing the videos coming out of Syria of torture killings and executions, PTSD from war just must be awful.  Absolutely awful.

And then to be abandoned by the government that sent them to war.

ebworthen's picture

Excerpt from the Soldiers' letter:

"Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for?"


buzzsaw99's picture

someday we won't have the bernank to kick around anymore

BigJim's picture

Yes, but I don't think we're in danger of running out of other loathesome bankster puppets any time soon

the grateful unemployed's picture

Taibbi: Are you this opaque with the announcements you send by email to the TBTF institutions before you reveal them to the public?

Bernanke: We just twitter them with simple messages. Risk On for instance. They're not as bright as most of you.

Hilesenrath: That means, what? I'm just the mule.

Bernanke: You're getting the long version of the song. Like Come on Baby Light My Fire..

Hilensrath: You're one of those beatniks. The beard. I get it?

Bernanke: Don't use that term..

Santelli: You're not afraid of inflation, but you must be afraid of something.

Bernanke: I'm not afraid of inflation. We can handle that in ten minutes. Let me put you on our twitter alert list.

Santelli: I can handle the truth.

Bernanke: The President is on the list, there's no stigma attached. You have to download the encryption key from the NSA in order to receive the messages.

Hilensrath: Is the message always Risk On?

Bernanke: silence

Cycling Fish's picture

Melon balls anyone?

dolph9's picture

Just keep in mind how impossible it is to be a central bank, if it is your job to keep the banking system alive.

Eventually, you will be forced into a decision:  either you sacrifice yourself and go bust (by absorbing all of the bad debt of the banking system and let it die on your books) or you hyperinflate the national fiat currency.

So Bernanke is of course in the impossible situation...he either lets himself be Blankfein's and Dimon's bitch, or he destroys the currency bringing everybody down.

One of the things I've learned is that if you are in charge of a failing enterprise and don't have the foresight to exit early, you are the sucker.  That's how the world has always worked, but this is accelerating now.  Never be a "hero," heroism is the biggest pile of horseshit propaganda there ever was and it's amazing how many Americans fall for it.  If you are a hero, you will end up bankrupt, crippled or dead.  It is the antiheroes who survive, reproduce, accumulate wealth, and live into old age.  This will always be the case.

Isn't this being proven right now?  What happened to all those men who fought WW2 to "save" America?  If they knew what would become of the country, would they have volunteered to get their brains blown out, or would they have said, "Fuck it, the Nazis are going to be overrun by the Russians anyway, let them duke it out and kill themselves if they want to, I'm going home."

Stop watching these idiot Hollywood comic book movies and look around for a change.

RockyRacoon's picture

"Fuck it, the Nazis are going to be overrun by the Russians anyway, let them duke it out and kill themselves if they want to, I'm going home."

Yeah, but, we had to save the French.  For what I'm not sure, but it was imperative.

BigJim's picture

We had no choice... Hitler was threatening to rip up the Cabernet and plant Gewürztraminer

Cacete de Ouro's picture

So why is it that all the journalists quoted are establishment? Why no less known publications or alternative media? Are they just not allowed to attend or perhaps can't get an application in for a press pass because it needs a nomination and a secondment etc to even apply to be a recognized 'news organization'? So where is Rolling Stone, for example?

New_Meat's picture

Bill Belichick will be needin' to brush up on this over the next weeks.  What a MASTER to learn from!

Howdan's picture

Haha this is one of the best ZH articles I've ever read.

AMAZING. Because it's true.