John Taylor Berates Bernanke's Fed (In 300 Words)

Tyler Durden's picture

Via John Taylor's Economics One blog,

Like many monetary economists, I’ve recently been approached by reporters  and commentators to say a few words about monetary policy during Ben Bernanke’s time at the Fed.  Back in December the Washington Bureau of the Wall Street Journal asked me and others to write a short 300 word statement on the subject, and I have simply re-circulated that in response to further inquiries. Here are the 300 words:

Many will remember Ben Bernanke for classic central bank stabilizing actions taken during the fall 2008 panic, including emergency loans to banks and swap lines to foreign central banks. But historians might also consider actions the Fed took before and after that panic.


During 2003-2005, shortly after Ben Bernanke joined the Board stressing deflationary concerns, the Fed embarked on a very low interest rate policy. The policy was rationalized in part by these deflationary concerns, but it was a deviation from a policy that had worked well for two decades, and it exacerbated the housing boom and led to excessive risk taking.


The inevitable bust and defaults started as early as 2006. But the Fed misdiagnosed the resulting hits to bank balance sheets as a pure liquidity problem, and its initial treatment — pouring funds into the interbank market via the 2007 Term Auction Facility — did little good. The Fed then followed up with an on-again off-again bailout policy which created more instability. When the Fed bailed out Bear Stearns’ creditors in March 2008, investors assumed Lehman’s creditors would be bailed out too. When they weren’t, it was a big surprise. With policy uncertainty reaching new heights, panic ensued.


After the panic, the Fed began to draw down the emergency loans, but then embarked on an entirely unprecedented policy — massive purchases of mortgage-backed and Treasury securities, known as quantitative easing (QE).  The economy has grown slowly with QE compared with past recoveries without QE and far short of the Fed’s predictions. Many argue that QE has not reduced unemployment, but has diminished the Fed’s independence and credibility, offsetting the effects of adopting a numerical inflation target. Now, only a year after the latest round of QE began, the Fed is struggling with how to unwind it, just as many had warned.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
JohnG's picture




299 words shorter.

Landotfree's picture

The unwinding is the eventually collapse, then comes the fun part liquidation of the walking unfunded liabilities i.e. the result of using the equation.   

Nothing the Fed can do about it, never could.  The Fed's job is simple, keep the system going as long as possible, their job has never been to stop the collapse as that is impossible.

LawsofPhysics's picture

I have been mentioning "walking unfunded liabilities" since the first theft/crash in 2001.  Nobody "gets" it.

SafelyGraze's picture

the epitaph has already been inscribed in the waiting stone

He Kicked the Can As Best He Could

economessed's picture

He Kicked the Can As Best He Could


And that is everything that anyone will ever need to remember about the Bernank.


Mr. Yellen's tombstone awaits a similar inscription:  he waged a personal battle against the second law of thermodynamics as long as he could before his printer caught fire and burned-down the entire nation.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Only slightly off topic given the Obama-Bernanke-Schumer Triumvirate -

"Debt Up $6.66 Trillion Under Obama"

February 4, 2014

- The debt of the U.S. government has increased $6.666 trillion since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, according to the latest numbers released by the Treasury Department.

When President Obama was first inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt of the U.S. government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. As of Jan. 31, 2014, the latest day reported, the debt was $17,293,019,654,983.61—an increase of $6,666,142,606,070.53 since Obama’s first inauguration.

The total debt of the United States did not exceed $6.666 trillion until July 2003. In the little more than five years of the Obama presidency, the U.S. has accumulated as much new debt as it did in it’s first 227 years.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  $6.666

Yeah,  but who's counting...   Deficits don't matter anymore, remember?

wackydog's picture

666, huh?

Maybe that's not a coincidence.

PT's picture

Correct.  The dates over which the summation was taken was not a co-incidence.  They could publish early or wait a bit longer to get the number they wanted.  eg, if they wanted $7T then they could have just waited a few more days.  But it helps to publish when the numbers help emphasize your point.

acetinker's picture

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -Albert Bartlett  Bammy's a tool for sure, but the debt was gonna rise like this no matter what.

XitSam's picture

And yet NPR was waxing poetical over how the deficit is under a trillion dollars now. 'Praise be to the Great and Wise Obama!'

I barfed before I could turn it off.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Something tells me the following generations will be able to embellish his legacy with very creative bullshit.

History is seldom pessimistic.    Humans don't like pessimistic history.  They want heroics.     If it's no heroic, it won't be noted in history.  

Maybe Ben will have a statue in DC someday,  him riding on a printing-press.  

WTFUD's picture

Nope, him jerking off on a printing press!

edb5s's picture

Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back
And laugh.
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.


-King Crimson

acetinker's picture

The verse before that sets the stage-

The wall on which the prophets wrote

Is cracking at the seams.
Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams.
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams,
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
When silence drowns the screams?
Landotfree's picture

If one does not understand it,  they are most probably a walking unfunded liabilities themselves... lol 

All these people walking around fail to see what column they go to once the system collapses... you are either an asset or a liabilite... no way you support 7+ billion without a fully functioning global credit system.

Plenty of people that think they are assets will have to go once the liquidation process starts.

This restructuring will make the 1923-1950 restructuring look like an ant hill.




NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  This restructuring will make the 1923-1950 restructuring look like an ant hill.

Let hope "they" can delay event that until I'm dead.  

Janet:   More printing,  failure while I'm alive is not a option!

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

Here's the way I see it playing:

Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, system still alive: check.

Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, Fed intervention, system still alive: check.

Fed intervention, system broken, 1.6 billion rounds of hollow point: check.

Welcome to hell: check.

XitSam's picture

If anyone thinks they are going to be unaffected, they are wrong.

Landotfree's picture

I see billions of criminals.

"But historians might also consider actions the Fed took before and after that panic."

The guy is confused, the Fed's only job is simple, convince the other criminals that the helicopters are coming.   So, all I see is criminals trying to convince other criminals that helicopters are coming to save them.   The universe does not really care.  


 “But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” 
Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  all I see is criminals

Criminal is a bit harsh.   The top 10% is simply comprised of the most opportunistic manipulative (and genetically lucky) people of society (not just ours, look at Japan or China or the EU).  

Advanced humans compete by manipulating each other with bullshit.    The smarter humans are those who bullshit the best.   The top 10% is (basically) the best bullshitters of society (or the children of the best bullshitter of past generations).  

It’s not “criminal” to lie.   If it was, society couldn’t exist.  

Landotfree's picture

99.9999+ percent of the world population has or are benefitting from the great Lie.... some more than others... 

A good portion of this population will pay, some won't.   Either way the universe don't give a shit i.e. Math.   People can say it's harsh but that is the cold reality of the situation.

Iam Yue2's picture

" Now, only a year after the latest round of QE began, the Fed is struggling with how to unwind it, just as many had warned."

Bollocks, you mean as Zerohedge had warned.

Landotfree's picture

The Fed is not struggling with any unwind... nature and basic Math will take care of that.  

The authors of the articles on ZH are bankers who got kicked out of the club.   They are basically mad that they are not reaping the reward, kind of self serving at this point.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Ben did what was required to keep the top 10% living well.   

Nobody - in the top 10% - wanted the top 10% to suffer.   And the top 10% own the government and the wealth of the nation, so only the opinions of the top 10% count (which is what a survival-of-the-fittest society would want - after all, who's "more fit" that those who have all the wealth).  

What else could he do?  Tell the top 10% they are going to lose their wealth?   He wouldn't have lasted very long with an attitude like THAT!

LMAOLORI's picture



And that 10% includes member of Congress who also line their own stockpockets 


Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

No, berating him would be calling him a worthless banker whore who has fucked over millions of people worldwide!

Free Francis Sawyer....

PT's picture


Free Francis Sawyer .... For Fuck's Sake 

Rathmullan's picture

"Numerical inflation" target based on a contrived and misleading formula that adversely impacts the citizenry in favor of centralized government and the banking cartel. 

akak's picture


"Numerical inflation"

Well, one has to distinguish the fantasy numbers promulgated by the BL(B)S from the REAL inflation numbers somehow.

ebworthen's picture

By design.

Can't think of a better way to bleed the citizenry over generations than to form a non-governmental agency with the name "Federal" in it, have it run by the biggest banks, then loot the Treasury with calculated booms and busts while telling the "folks" that the purpose is to keep inflation down and employment up.

BlueStreet's picture

When banks don't trust each other it doesn't matter how low the rate.

ArkansasAngie's picture

Okey dokey.

Where do we go from here friend?

And guess what ... Yellen has the same bag of tricks as Bernanke did.  

Color me frustrated at the whole thing.

metaforge's picture

How long before Interplanet Janet begins "operation un-taper"?

MeMadMax's picture

Never. They will keep printing until the lights go out... And then they will get donkeys to power the machines....

quasimodo's picture

Hopefully this guy drives an old 1980 Impala, 4 barrel carb and no ECM. 


Black Warrior Waterdog's picture

Eff the ABA and Elizabeth Warren. If you must do business with a financial organization, choose a good credit union.

TheGoldMyth's picture
Black Warrior Waterdog Time for a New Theory of Money

By understanding that money is simply credit, we unleash it as a powerful tool for our communities

By Ellen Brown
Global Research, October 29, 2010 29 October 2010

"The concept of money-as-a-commodity can be traced back to the use of precious metal coins. Gold is widely claimed to be the oldest and most stable currency known, but this is not actually true. Money did not begin with gold coins and evolve into a sophisticated accounting system. It began as an accounting system and evolved into the use of precious metal coins. Money as a “unit of account” (a tally of sums paid and owed) predated money as a “store of value” (a commodity or thing) by two millennia; the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations using these accounting-entry payment systems lasted not just hundreds of years (as with some civilizations using gold) but thousands of years. Their bank-like ancient payment systems were public systems—operated by the government the way that courts, libraries, and post offices are operated as public services today."

Temporalist's picture

Because they're doing such a bang up job at the Post Office already.  Now if they sold gold and silver...

LawsofPhysics's picture

far far too little, far, far too late.  The moral hazard has gone unchecked for far too long now.

Stupid cunt, at least some bankers and politicians went to prison during the S&L crisis.  They are not even pretending at this point, fuck em.

mrdenis's picture

My advice to Ms Warren .....stay away from any steep embankments protected by high fences 

ThroxxOfVron's picture

"Elizabeth Warren Wants A Public Option For Banking By Using The Post Office"


The FDIC originally covered the deposits of only a single institution: the Postal Savings System.


"The United States Postal Savings System was a postal savings system operated by the United States Post Office Department, predecessor of the United States Postal Service, from January 1, 1911 until July 1, 1967. The system paid depositors 2 percent annual interest. Depositors in the system were initially limited to hold a balance of $500, but this was raised to $1,000 in 1916 and to $2,500 in 1918. At its peak in 1947, the system held almost $3.4 billion in deposits. The system originally had a natural advantage over deposit-taking private banks because the deposits were always backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States Government." However, because theFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation gave the same guarantee to depositors in private banks, the Postal Savings System lost its natural advantage in trust."


Of course, IF the Postal Savings System was reconstituted and provided the infrastructure to manage SS/Disability/WIC/etc.., paying in US Treasury Notes bearing interest or in 'Greenbsacks'; -the likes of JPMChase would not make a cent 'managing' redistribution schemes and would receive none of the BILLIONS in regular FRN deposits they presently enjoy every month under the present system of FED seigniorage and Bankster skimming off Social Servies distributions/redemptions...


Then there is the lovely idea that the Postal Savings System could issue neo-inflation hedgeded currency ( aka forever stamps ) in lieu of FRN that could be traded for goods and services instead of merly redeemed for mail delivery...


NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  the likes of JPMChase would not make a cent 'managing' redistribution schemes

Yeah,  I don't think the patriots who love the glorious private banking system would stand for the creeping socialism of having the evil post office accept savings deposits.   After all, think of all the damage they could do when - instead - the private banking system has a proven track-record of honesty!

ThroxxOfVron's picture

Also notice that "The system paid depositors 2 percent annual interest."

IF this interest were tax-free ( since the deposit is arguably being held by the US Treasury/Government ) then these savings would in theory be nominally protected against theft via the FED printing press as long as the FED did not exceed the publicly stated 2% inflation target...

Why should SS/Disibility/VA/WIC Recipients be forced to do business with Private Banks simply to cash their checks or hold minimal savings?

.GOV could also have nationalized the bankrupt/bailed-out banks and traded them for the non-marketable securities in the 'SS Trust Fund'...  

It is possible that the profits would accrue to SS and eventually People wouldn't have to pay in, just let the Postal Banking System run surplusses indefinitely and distribute a portion of the interest to share-holders: American Citizen Retirees...

Black Warrior Waterdog's picture

Ca. 1925: ''Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.''