Cashin On Bernanke's 'Assumed' Tactical Genius

Tyler Durden's picture

Just as Patton surveyed Rommel's battlefield of Panzers and assumed he knew his plan (since he had 'read the book'), so UBS' Art Cashin reminds us that traders trust implicitly that Bernanke is an assumed tactical genius - capable of deploying his monetary troops at will and in a perfectly timed manner. This trust (and hope) is based on Bernanke's early speeches and one in particular - “Deflation: Making Sure 'It' Doesn’t Happen Here” (here). It was delivered back at the National Economists Club in November 2002 (Before Bernanke became Fed Chair). As Wall Street ponders what form or format the next level of quantitative easing might take, Cashin is taking time off from the fermentation committee to sift through the speech, looking for clues to the next Fed move. The primary complication is the turmoil in the European banking system. That may force Mr. B to include things like currency swap facilities in any new comprehensive easing effort. While QEx is certainly coming, we remain highly cognizant of the reflexive market reaction to any 'decent' dip as hope remaining too alive-and-well that the Bernanke-Put strike is considerably higher than it is in reality.

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Squishi's picture

Bernanke is going to wear slippers to the next meating... #baller 

Thomas's picture

Who would presume he knows what he's doing?

NotApplicable's picture

I would. But that's just because I believe he only does what he's told.

The idea that he is making the decisions is just silly.

francis_sawyer's picture

 "Bernanke you magnificent bastard... I READ YOUR BOOK!"


nope-1004's picture

From Bernankes 2002 speech linked above in Tylers' post, the last sentence was the only one that stood out for me:

Nevertheless, I hope to have persuaded you that the Federal Reserve and other economic policymakers would be far from helpless in the face of deflation, even should the federal funds rate hit its zero bound.

LMFAO.  "Persuasion"?  You gotta be kidding me!


fockewulf190's picture

You can win battles and still lose the war. The Bernank is the economic Yammamoto of the western financial world.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

His 2002 speech is indeed unpersuasive, except perhaps to those who have an uncritical faith in the quantity theory of money, especially of the elementary version BB espouses.  His logic seems to be, if inflation is an increase in the money supply such that prices rise, then deflation must be its opposite.  Therefore, increasing the money supply will check deflation.  This reasoning is false if for no other reason than some variables in his own crude version of QTM are not under his control (velocity for example and real output).

Empirically, some might be inclined to argue that the fall in asset prices has indeed been checked to some degree.  And there is a kernel of truth in that assertion, but the kernel is covered by a husk of falsehoods.  First, the price discovery mechanism in asset markets has been horribly distorted by BB's own machinations.  So the signals provided by that market are false.

Second it took more than $26 trillion in assorted bailouts (or roughly 2 years of real US GDP) to do that checking.  (As an aside, one wonders what the effects would have been had that $26 trillion been doled out to ordinary Joes and Janes, rather than the irrespondible banksters who put us in this mess...hmmm.)

Third, to the extent asset (stock) prices have any correlation w/underlying fundamentals, that relationship too has been irretrievably broken by deliberately falsified financial statements (falsified with the blessing I might add of regulators including the Fed itself and the Financial Acctg Stds Board).  There is no way to accurately gauge the accuracy of financial statements and thus no way to correlate asset prices with said fundamentals.

Lastly, the Fed's own ZIRP is actually aggravating the very deflation in asset prices it supposed to prevent--that is, ZIRP does not allow prices to recover because the previous bad investments have yet to be written off (and irresponsible managements fired) to any significant degree.  Moreover, as discussed in other posts,  ZIRP actually depletes financial capital and is thus deflationary to that extent.

BB's speech is thus unpersuasive because it fails on its own logical terms, and because the empirical evidence also contradicts it.

poor fella's picture

He's envisioned as mysterious and powerful - The Magus.

When in fact he's John Wayne Gacy dressed up as a happy-go-lucky and popular clown. You don't want to be around to see his darker side.

WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

Sufjan Stephens has an excellent song about John Wayne Gacy on his alblum "Come on and feel the Illinoise!"

poor fella's picture

LOVE that album! =D   and that song is quite touching.

Freddie's picture

Gacy was a Democratic precinct captain in the Chicago area.  He had his picture taken with Jimmy Carter and Rosalind.

vmromk's picture

Bernank.....haven't enough people already told you to GO AND FUCK YOURSELF ?

I got news for you my bald headed asshole friend, QE3 will lead to your downfall, you moronic asshole.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It is real simple folks. Either "we" believe that the powers that be (in this case Bernanke) know what they're doing or "we" reconsider everything we think we know.

Thinking one allows us to kick our own personal can down the road one more time. The other shakes us to our very core. Not hard to figure which way this will go. We are all (corruptible) cowards to some extent or another. The supreme mistake we all seem to make is to believe that "I" am different. Doing so enables us to remain within the insanity while declaring we are not a part.

gjp's picture

+1 very well put, CD.

Even with eyes open to it all, how far are you willing to go to distance yourself from your community, all so you might theoretically be able to feed and defend yourself in a Mad Max world?

So far, I have been unable to make the leap.  We are all truly in this together for better or for worse.

TheFineKid's picture

I am in the same boat gjp. Perfectly put.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Actually..........while you say that we are all in this together, in fact we all act independently............even if we are still acting as a herd.

The illusion has convinced us that we are all alone and isolated. This is the BIG LIE. So we act in what we perceive as our own best interest because......well, we are alone and thus not responsible for anyone else other than me, myself and I (and immediate family).

If we were to truly understand that we are not alone.....and then act as one, the herd instinct would subside and the inner sovereign would emerge and express. This is the last thing the slave master wants to see happen, for the slaves to become self aware. Thus the massive suppression techniques being employed by them.

The illusion promoted by TPTB is that true knowing can only come from external sources, the so-called authorities. Since we are actually sovereign beings and must be fooled into willingly handing over our sovereign power, we must be convinced we are powerless. We are not. Once we recognize this, the way forward becomes very clear.

Things that go bump's picture

"Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for thee."


John Donne, No Man is an Island

sunaJ's picture

The best weapon you have is to refuse to participate.  Get out of money as much as you can.  Maybe some of you have not made the fundamental leap, but many of us have.  I count every day that I can disconnect myself more fully as a blessing.  I do not like participating as much as I do, but it is a spiritual direction in which I can always strive.  You do not have to give up everything, but start changing your lifestyle.  Your relationships will become more genuine.  Your own self-sufficiency becomes more rewarding than gambling with the Devil.   I guarantee that once you make the fundamental leap, the cognitive dissonance dissipates. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Could not have said it better myself. Reclaim your sovereign being. Reclaim yourself.

Thomas's picture

I am 50% gold. I think the world would consider me quite different!

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Very much different from the concensus reality pack.

But as in all things in life, it is the intent behind our actions that most determines our own personal outcomes. Do you own Gold because you wish to acquire wealth and power? Or do you own Gold as an active symbol of your sovereignty?

It really does make a difference when we are properly settled deep within with our choices and decisions. Doing anything for the right reasons, reasons that a search within will reveal, is practicing, then applying, our own personal sovereignty. 

knukles's picture

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile. 

       ~Palahniuk, Fight Club, Chapter 17

Do we wish to remain within the sanity whilst declaring ourselves apart, or do we wish to truly view the insanity within which we live from perspectives of sanity,  clarity and distance?
I care not to attempt to smash the ego, but fully embrace it, hold it close, comfort it, learn from it, understand it as I understand myself, for it is but a creation of myself, alone. 
We should neither regret the past nor shut the door upon it.
For do we wish to not repeat our past transgressions? 

I must accomplish more than merely declaring  myself apart.
Perhaps to  bring a spark to affront the darkness, to deliver a sense of civility in  an increasingly uncivil world.

If any of such  is even possible.

Lone Deranger's picture

He's tactically destroyed the US dollar, I'll give him that.

mrktwtch2's picture

hopefully mittens gets rid of him whne he takes office..

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Sorry in advance for this, but do you really think there's a dime's worth of difference between O and R?  The only difference is superficial skin color.  Mitt's an empty suit just like and O, and just like O will do what he's told.  So stop "hoping" for redemption to come from politics...aint going to happen.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

Please:  Planet Mitt, Obummer and the Bernank all work for the same employers.  He has no say in whether Bernank stays or goes and even then his replacement will be hired by the same paymasters. 

Dr. Engali's picture

The only thing deflating here are the house prices. Has the Bernank given any thought to the fact that by inflating everything else , and raising the cost of living, he is putting the one item he needs inflation in out of the reach of perspective buyers?

lolmao500's picture

Deflation: Making Sure 'It' Doesn’t Happen Here

Deflation is good, it helps the poor class and the middle class to buy stuff... but eh, Chairsatan was never a friend of the 99.9%...

ATG's picture

DK re BB tactics, but just took profits on SLV and SPY calls and bot SPY puts.

EUD targeting 116, SPX 1180, TNX .05%, USD 100...

HaroldWang's picture

Why did the Euro just shoot up so quickly above 1.25? Short covering?? News??

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Because it is King fucking Euro! It does what it wants.

Lone Deranger's picture

It's lunchtime in the US, and people are bored.

GeneMarchbanks's picture


Nice to see people still believe in a world where causal attribution is still regarded as a thing.


valley chick's picture

and why the DOW over 100?  Did i miss a rumor?

GolfHatesMe's picture

Cosmo Kramer has a bottle return to Michigan Plan to save Europe

Jason T's picture

When the pace of collapse out paces the pace of bailout... that's when gets interesting.  

... when cities, countries, companies start going broke everywhere..FAST.  

Sockeye's picture

Yes, and we are almost there now.

SDRII's picture

Surely that speech was an accident of history

NotApplicable's picture

"There are no accidents in history. If it happened, it was planned that way." -- FDR

In other words, it was the setup that created the "Bernanke Put," all while the "Greenspan Put" was still in effect.

the not so mighty maximiza's picture

Bernake has been wrong about everything, he is more a strategic thinker then a tactical one.

NotApplicable's picture


He's a PUPPET! He isn't right, wrong, or a thinker of any sort. His job is to look and sound credible in the facade of his "professional atmosphere."

I don't understand why people have such a difficult time with this obvious concept.

Sophist Economicus's picture

He is not a puppet.   He is doing a balancing act that no one can do well - and he would admit it himself.   There are no good answers right now, and no one as Fed Chair can just issue a proclamation that would run against the drunks in Congress and the White House.    Any blatant maneuver against their interests would result in an immediate repudiation of that FED decision.    This is a grown-up world with snakes all around.   Polly Anna ideas won't work

bullandbearwise's picture

Ben already has $22 B in currency swaps on the books since December. To whom and when does this become a stealth bailout?

Dr. Engali's picture

Bank of America pledges $50 billion to combat climate change:


Maybe they should pledge $50 billion to shore up those derivatives they moved over to the bank side of the corporation.

monad's picture

Climate change means us. It means, they pledged 50B to get rid of us.

RobotTrader's picture

Bernanke will go down as the most adept and capable central banker in world history.


Discussed in economics textbooks for the next 100 years:

1)  How he managed to sky the S & P 500 by 80% during the worst economy in decades and the worst economic crisis in Europe ever

2)  How he racked up unbelievable levels of debt on the Fed balance sheet yet interest rates crashed to 60-year lows

3)  How he had successfully trained "Risk On/Risk Off" Algos to sell commodities by the mere utterance or suggestion that he might do something without actually doing anything at all.  Result:  35% crash in the CRB Index via jawboning.

4)  How he sat back and let Europe burn, in order to push U.S. interest rates down to rock bottom levels where increasing amounts of Federal debt can be infinitely financed at zero cost.

5)  How he was able to overrun the physical market for PM's and destroy the confidence of most PM investors, to the extent that "Paper" now rules over "Physical", any time, any day

6)  How he coined the term "Green Shoots", which kicked off the greatest rally in Consumer Discretionary stocks ever recorded, producing huge wealth gains for those who stuck with names like SBUX, WFM, ULTA, ROST, etc., and discrediting the "Endgamers" in the process.


Village Smithy's picture

I think our time horizons differ, as do our opinions on the scale of the problems that the U.S. economy faces. Thoughtfully presented nonetheless.

gjp's picture

All achieved with the limitless use and abuse of the US dollar, the 'global reserve currency'.  He's a one-trick pony, no different than Easy Al before him.  When is banker masters are in distress, he hits print, in ever greater quantities.  Not a lot of genius in that.

The US dollar won't survive the bursting of the next bubble.  No-one seems to believe it possible, but there is an end game eventually to this reductio ad absurdem.  And Bernanke won't look too good in the history books then.

theTribster's picture

That's good but I added a few...


7) How he destroyed the emerging markets by stealing growth thru currency manipulation.

8) How he single handedly in his infinite arrogance absolutely destroyed the American economy and currency.

9) How he enabled the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the world.

10) How he helped the Government destroy itself by enabling financial corruption on a massive scale.

11) Ultimately responsible for the next round of global war, the inevitable outcome of such a situation.

12) Had the best facial hair of any fed chief before him. (best achievement)

13) Responsible for the final destruction of the federal reserve banking system, he true best achievement.

So, if we come out of this unscathed than your 6 items may well be the way he is remembered. If however we go tits up, which is very likely, then item 8-13 will be more applicable. The winners write history, I don't think he'll be considered a winner when this is all said and done. Its more likely that he is skinned alive once everyone realizes that his attempts to "fix" things only made them worse and in the meantime stole all of their wealth (house, returement funds, etc).

That said, I guess there is a remote possibility that in the end it all works out for him and us...