Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke

Anti-US Protests Spread To India, Bangladesh, Indonesia

Did we say Arab Fall? We meant global fall. From the Star Tribune: "Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims protested Friday against an anti-Islam film, burning U.S. flags and calling President Barack Obama a "terrorist," while the top government cleric here reportedly demanded Americans leave the volatile Indian-controlled region immediately. In the southern Indian city of Chennai, protesters threw stones at the U.S. Consulate, shattering some windows and burning Obama in effigy. Police quickly cleared the area, arresting more than 100 protesters. U.S. Embassy officials in Delhi did not immediately comment." And elsewhere: "In Bangladesh, about 5,000 hardline Muslims marched in Dhaka's streets after Friday prayers, burning U.S. and Israeli flags and calling for the death of the filmmaker. Police prevented them from marching toward the U.S. Embassy several miles away." And elsewhere: "In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, about 200 protesters chanted slogans and held up signs in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. American diplomatic outposts increased security worldwide this week after clips of the film went viral online and sparked violent protests in the Middle East. About 20 protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shouted "Allahu akbar!" and handed reporters a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador expressing their anger over the movie and calling for greater respect for religions."

Guest Post: Doug Casey On The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Of Today's Journalism

"Yellow journalism" – which seems almost the only kind we have these days dominates our newsflow, but the truth is out there. As with everything else though, it's subject to Pareto's Law. So, 80% of what's out there is crap, and 80% of what's left is merely okay. But that remaining 4% of quality, uncensored, free information flow is extremely valuable. The terminal corruption of the major news corporations and the lack of interest in seeking the truth among the general population augurs very poorly for the prospects of the US and the current world order. This creates speculative opportunities, but prospects for mainstream investments are not good. Western civilization is truly in decline and far down the slippery slope.

Ron Paul: "Country Should Panic Over Fed's Decision"

What took Ben Bernanke sixty minutes of mumbling about tools, word-twisting, and data-manipulating to kinda-sorta admit - that in fact he is lost; Ron Paul eloquently expresses in 25 seconds in this Bloomberg TV clip. Noting that "we are creating money out of thin air," Paul sums up Bernanke's position perfectly "We've Lost Control!" From mal-investment to Bernanke's frustration and the unintended consequences, the full 5-minute interview is a must-watch.

Guest Post: Psychoanalyzing The Fed

There is one last irony in Bernanke's constant promotion of his powers to unleash QE. Having talked up the market for years with his promises/threats of QE, the market has priced in ever higher doses of QE, in effect bidding expectations of QE's effectiveness to the sky. Bernanke has lost the power to surprise the market. Having raised expectations to the sky, he must deliver something beyond the stratosphere to surprise the market. But he doesn't have anything capable of matching the absurd expectations he's inflated, never mind exceed them. The only surprise left is a negative one. Chairman Bernanke and his fellow doves will soon realize the consequences of over-promising and under-delivering. It works better the other way around, but now it's too late.

Grand Theft Auto: FOMC City - Bank Robbers Throw Cash Out Of Volvo In South Los Angeles

Once upon a time we thought that literally throwing cash out of rapidly moving objects was a privilege strictly reserved for Fed chairmen. Not any more. Moments ago, a car chase in South Los Angeles went horribly right, when two bank thieves who managed to find a Bank of America branch which actually had cash in it, and robbed it, proceeded to throw cash out of the moving car as it was being chased by a cohort of cops. Since the getaway car happened to be a Volvo, they naturally failed to get away, but not before they became local Robin Hood-type heroes to the massive gathering of gawkers all of whom would appear gainfully employed if only they were not just standing there, doing nothing, and hoping to steal the already stolen money in a major LA intersection at 11:30 am local time on a Wednesday. At least we now have the first two joint candidates to take over the BOE's soon to be vacant governorship.

Citi: If NEW QE, Then Buy Gold

Some very curious thoughts ahead of tomorrow's FOMC announcement from none other than Citigroup: "There is a strong view in markets that 1) the Fed have to do a big QE, given the expectations that have been built up, and 2) the added liquidity will have a marginal effect.  Taken together this raises the risk that the assets that will benefit are those sensitive to liquidity, such as money substitutes and Treasuries, rather than assets that are sensitive to real business cycle expansion." Money substitutes = gold

Burkhardt's picture

Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke made a strong case for more easing in his Jackson Hole speech last month so the outlook is positive. IF the Fed declines additional easing then it could send the markets into a tailspin especially due to the fact that the EU just got the “green-light” on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) from the German courts.

Is The Federal Reserve The World's Worst Forecaster?

The answer, of course, is yes: they are after all, economists (who somehow, with no real world experience, determine the daily fate of billions of productive and capital-allocation decisions every day). But it is one thing for everyone to discuss the obvious anecdotally by the water cooler. It is something else for this verbal heresy to be printed in a "serious" publication. Such as Reuters, which today asks if "the Federal Reserve has watched the U.S. recession and painfully slow recovery through rose-colored glasses?" And answers: "A look at the U.S. central bank's economic forecasts over the past five years suggest it has." It then explains: "Since October 2007, when the Fed's policy committee began giving quarterly predictions for GDP growth and the jobless rate, the central bank has downgraded its nearer-term forecasts almost two-and-a-half times as often as it upgraded them. The gap between Wall Street's expectations for 2012 growth and the Fed's own current view points to yet another downgrade on Thursday, when policymakers wrap up a two-day meeting that has world financial markets rapt." It concludes: "The trend of back-pedaling shows how poorly the central bank has fared at reading the economic tea leaves, with the Fed's optimism a likely factor in policy decisions through the Great Recession and its fallout, economists say." In summary: the world's most ebullient and permabullish forecasters, who incidentally happen to constantly be wrong in their desperate attempts to affect the only thing that matters: consumer and investor sentiment and confidence via the increasingly irrelevant myth that are asset prices, happen to run the monetary world and "determine" just what the future looks like. Needless to say, if the Fed's presidents were actually employed in the private sector, they would have been fired ages ago. Only in a fiat world do they not only keep their jobs, but keep on running the world.

David Rosenberg's New Normal: "The Economy Does Not Drive The Markets Any More"

Bill Gross may be credited with inventing the term 'the New Normal', although his recommendation to purchase gold above all other asset classes, something which only fringe blogs such as this one have been saying is the best trade (in terms of return, Sharpe Ratio, and the ability to sleep soundly) for the past three and a half years, he is sure to be increasingly ostracized by the establishment, and told to take all his newfangled idioms with him in his exile to less than serious people land. Which takes us to David Rosenberg, who today revisits his own definition of the New Normal. And it, too, is just as applicable as that of the Pimco boss: "The new normal is that the economy doesn't drive markets any more." Short and sweet, although it also is up for debate whether the economy ever drove the markets in the first place. But that would open up a whole new conspiratorial can of worms, and is a discussion best saved for after Ben Bernanke decides to save the "housing market" by buying more hundreds of billions in MBS and lowering mortgage yields further, even though mortgage rates already are at record lows (something that mortgage applications apparently couldn't care less about as we showed last week), while "avoiding" to do everything in his power to boost the S&P, which recently was at 5 year highs, and certainly "avoiding" to listen to Chuck Schumer telling him to do his CTRL+P job, and "get to work" guaranteeing Schumer's donors have another whopper of a bonus season.

Is The Fed Losing Faith... In Itself?

The cracks in the Fed's narcissism started to show at Jackson Hole, where Bernanke's speech did nothing for the market; and as the FT points out, the biggest worry on display was whether these bureaucrats, sitting at the heart of every mature economy, still have the power to influence demand. Lurking behind many debates was this question: if central bank policies are so omnipotent effective, why is the global economy not growing faster? Everyone's favorite honest-dwarf Fed Governor, James Bullard, summarized perfectly:

"I am a little – maybe more than a little bit – worried about the future of central banking. We've constantly felt that there would be light at the end of the tunnel and there'd be an opportunity to normalize but it’s not really happening so far."

 

"What I’m worried about is this creeping politicization."

With monetary financing of governments on the increase (unconditionally by the Fed and conditionally by the ECB), it is clear that more radical options are increasingly mainstream as the textbook is not providing the answers. If the Fed itself is admitting it is becoming irrelevant and obsolete, then perhaps regimes are changing.

Guest Post: Bernanke’s Jobs Estimate

Quantitative easing hasn’t been about jobs. If this was about jobs or stimulating demand, Bernanke would have aimed the helicopter drops at the wider public, as many economists have suggested. This policy of dropping cash directly to the banks is bailing out a dangerous and morally-hazardous financial sector and too-big-to-fail megabanks that remain dangerously overleveraged and under-capitalised, needing endless new liquidity just to keep past debts serviceable. There has been plenty of cash helicopter-dropped onto Wall Street, but nobody on Wall Street has gone to jail for causing the 2008 crisis. Criminal banksters get the huge liquidity injections they want, and the rest get less than crumbs.

Subprime Auto Nation

Have you heard the news? Auto sales are booming. Total sales for the month of August were 1,285,202 vehicles, according to Autodata Corp, the highest monthly sales figure for any August since 2007, when 1.47 million autos were sold in the United States. Year to date auto sales have totaled 9.7 million and are on track to reach 14.5 million. Between 2006 and 2007, auto sales ranged between 16 million and 18 million. They crashed below 10 million in 2009. The Keynesians running our government have pulled out all the stops to restart this engine of consumer spending. First they wasted $3 billion of taxpayer funds on the Cash for Clunkers debacle. Almost 700,000 perfectly good cars were destroyed in order to keep union workers happy.  This Keynesian brain fart distorted the used car market for two years, raising prices for cars needed by the working poor. After that miserable failure, they realized the true secret to selling vehicles is to give them away to anyone that can scratch an X on a loan document, with 0% interest for 60 months, financed by Federal government controlled banking interests. Add in some massive channel stuffing and presto!!! – You’ve got an auto sales boom.... This is America, land of the delusional and home of the vain. The appearance of success is more important than actual success.