Continuing our tradition of listing what according to Zero Hedge readers were the key news events of the year for the third year in a row (2009 and 2010 can be found here and here), we present, as is now customary, the most popular posts of the year as determined by the number of page views, or said otherwise - by the readers themselves. So without further ado, here are this year's top 20.
Dr. Ben Bernanke went to school and never left. He is an academic who has never worked in the private sector yet controls the fate of trillions of Dollars, Euros, Yens and Pounds. Today he is smiling. Dr. Marc Faber also went to school, but he didn’t stick around. He has worked exclusively in the private sector and today is considered one of the most prescient investors on the planet. Today he is also smiling. To better appreciate all the smiling, one must understand exactly what happened or better still, what didn’t happen in Brussels last week. In the eyes of Dr. Bernanke and Dr. Faber, the historic 17th emergency summit meeting by the Europeans to solve their money problems went off without a hitch. Not only did the Euro-Elite fail to resolve their debt crisis, they failed miserably at even coming close to recognizing the problem. It’s this distinct lack of recognition that is turning frowns into smiles. Dr. Bernanke is smiling of course because he is a money printer. The continuing inability of the Euro-Elite to solve their problems virtually guarantees a 2012 recession in the Old World. In return, this will also create a recession in the US which will provide plenty of excuses for Mr. Bernanke to once again print money under the guise of QE3. Dr. Faber’s uncanny ability to understand the big picture and foresee the response from financial markets allowed him to predict the 1987 crash, the 2008-09 crash, and the resulting 2009 stock market rally. Dr. Faber is smiling today not because he agrees with Dr. Bernanke’s fondness for money printing, but rather because the global financial system is developing exactly as he has envisioned. This vision of course is a money maker for both him and his clients.
Just in case the general population was getting accustomed to the image of a demonic creature from the depths of hell every time the name "Chairsatan" was invoked in impolite conversation, here comes Jon Hilsenrath via the WSJ's blog, to attempt to humanize the man who together with 9 other academics who have no real world experience, runs the world out of a private (and locked) conference room in the Marriner Eccles building. So lest someone expect pentagrams to accompany today's FOMC statement, coupled with Bernanke breathing fire and smelling of sulfur at the next Fed conference, here is WSJ's Jon to put a humanly halo around the printer operator himself...
Ready to be disappointed by the Chairman announcing a whole lot of nothing, but doing it in a very Greenspanesque manner? Here it is: the live webcast from the Bernanke press conference which is about to begin.
Bernanke will testify before the Joint Economic Committee today to offer his outlook on the state of the economy, governmental financial policy, and federal spending priorities. Last time he testified on the Hill, the Fed Chairman said the U.S. economy was showing signs of a "self-sustaining recovery" but cautioned that another four to five years may pass before unemployment levels fall to historic norms. Presenting the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report provides an opportunity for the Fed to update its view on the economic outlook directly to Congress. Watch out for any notable keywords such as "QE3-XXX", "Keynesian Paradise", "Turboprint", "Hyperinflation" and last but not least "Gold is money."
Note to the future participants of Bretton Woods III – fiat currencies can only be floated with extremely tight and transparent banking laws, nothing like what we have today and this includes central banks. And if you decide to go down the gold standard path, same thing applies, transparency and low leverage are keys to long-term stability. Banks should operate like utilities with tremendous amounts of transparency, low levels of leverage and huge limitations on market size; read: granularity. How we are stumbling around today with the same banks that almost crashed in 2008 with even greater market shares and low-visibility accounting is beyond my understanding. Read the quote above to understand why the status quo is so eager to defeat anything that would reign in these black holes. It was as true then as it is today.
Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested in Iowa today that should Bernanke "print more money" before the election that it would be treason. Treason is a capital offense.
Speaking just now in Iowa, Perry said, “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in history is almost treasonous in my opinion.” Treason is a capital offense.
Watch live the first of two official monetary policy testimonies by Ben Bernanke, today being before Congress, and thus Ron Paul, tomorrow before the Senate. Among the critical items to be discussed are the role of fiscal policy, whether there will be QE3, and how (and when) the Fed will proceed with future rate hikes. Mostly, it is expected be a whole lot of hot air. Full text of the report can be read here. The reason everything is surging is because, as predicted, the Chairsatan appears to have just ushered in QE3: "The possibility remains that the recent economic weakness may prove more persistent than expected and that deflationary risks might reemerge, implying a need for additional policy support. The Federal Reserve remains prepared to respond should economic developments indicate that an adjustment of monetary policy would be appropriate."
Considering the only soundbite that was relevant from Ben Bernanke's 45 minute 2:15pm oratory was that "we don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting" America, and the entire civilized world, could have done just as well without it. Instead, we should have listened to Jim Grant, who once again correctly identifies all the things that the Fed chairman should have said (Bernanke certainly focused on the other side): "What we are not going to get is a concession that QE2 has achieved its unintended consequences, namely a lower dollar exchange rate, a higher gold price meaning weaker confidence in the dollar, slower economic growth and a higher measured rate of inflation. Those are some of the things that have come out of this experiment and let us call it by its name money printing...How do we know that this 30% gain in the Russell and 20% gain in Dow since the Chairman spoke in August, how are we to know these are real values. The prices are up, but are people who are buying these stocks on the back of the Fed, are they doing something wise from an investment point of view, and if the market is too high because the Fed has put it there, what does the Fed do when the market comes down, which opens the fate for QE3." And on a far more important topic which we will soon hear much more of, namely extensive US money market exposure in Europe, which will be completely locked up if, pardon, when there is a major liquidity run in Europe snagging American money market liquidity: "The money market mutual funds have nothing to do in this country cause rates are zero, go to Europe. So money market mutual funds investors are taking quite ponderable risks for about a 0% return, these funds are yielding a few basis points only. But to get those few basis point, these funds are crossing the Atlantic right smack dab in the middle of the European banking crisis. This is a prime example of the unintended consequences of this massive intervention by our central bank." Indeed, this is just one simple example of the massive clusterfuck, which certainly does not need Greece's $5 billion notional in CDS, to make the Lehman liquidity freeze seems like a little melting ice cube. And since everyone now agrees that Greece will default, and it is only a matter of time, all the trillions in dollars in the shadow and open banking systems that we have been exposing for years now, will suddenly be locked up in the forms of 1 and 0 in computers belonging to institutions that are no longer operational. And most unfortunately, the man in charge of it all, has a quivering lip problem.
Full Transcript Of Ben Bernanke's "I Have No Idea Why The Economy Will Get Better But It Will" Speech And Q&ASubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/22/2011 15:30 -0400
As noted in the title, for all those who wish to reread how Bernanke justifies the fact that he has no idea why the economy will improve, but it just will, damn it, here it is, complete with the full Q&A.
Every regulator in the universe will be present at Senate Banking Committee hearing discussing Dodd-Frank (Do-nk) Monitoring Systemic Risk and Promoting Financial Stability. Which means there will be nobody to greenlight a margin hike for at least 2-3 hours, as supposedly even Blackberries are not allowed. Which means crude may even lift a few offers before today's take down brings it to $80 by EOD courtesy of Obama's E*trade account.
Each day the general population gets at least one dose of teleprompter humor. So for a bit of variety, courtesy of William Banzai, we bring you some teleporter tragicomedy (which also explains so very much...)
A game of 20 questions with the Fed Chairman...
Today, the world has replaced Messrs.. Cleese, Chapman, Palin, Gilliam, Idle and Jones with a new ‘Flying Circus’. Their names are, for the most part, equally well-known and, sadly, becoming ever-more identified with high comedy as they try to convince the world that the dollar is, actually, in rude health. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘Ben Bernanke’s Flying Circus’ - starring Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Janet Yellen, Bill Dudley, Charles Plosser, Richard Fisher & featuring Barack Obama.