"Yes, Senator, I just want to say first of all we are looking into a number of questions relating to Goldman Sachs and other companies and their derivatives arrangements with Greece and this issue as well. As you know credit default swaps are properly used as hedging instruments. The SEC, of course, has been interested in this issue. Obviously using these instruments in a way that potentially destabilizes a company or a country is counterproductive. The SEC will be looking into that. We'll certainly be evaluating what we learn from the activities of the holding companies that we supervise here in the U.S." - Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke has got to be laughing it up after being reappointed to another term as Federal Reserve chairman. What else could we expect from the ex-lawyers and lifetime Beltway bandits voting on global monetary policy? As he starts his second term, I’m once again reminded about how supremely unqualified this man is for the job. Prior to becoming Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke basically had zero experience outside academia. His resume only includes three full-time years working for the Federal Reserve and eight months on George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors. The other 23 years of his career were spent teaching college.
Tomorrow's Bernanke testimony will be eagerly watched by all, not so much for anything that may be revealed in the prepared remarks (those will not disclose anything not already known), nor for the Q&A (because unfortunately the people in Congress who understanding the first thing about monetary policy can be counted on two fingers), but because it is not every day that the undisputed and underrepresented ruler of the not so free world gets to sit down in a kabuki theater in which he pretends to be accountable to some 300+ million peasants and a couple million compulsive gamblers and kleptomaniacs. All in all good, wholesome, TiVoable, and, luckily, just biannual fun. Yet for those who hope to get something out of this meeting than merely a popcorn overdose, we recommend the following Testimony Preview from Goldman's Hatzius & McKelvey, which goes through not only the background of the spectacle but focuses on some oddly relevant questions which our Congressmen may be wise enough to ask. We point out the latter, because we know full well that nobody will ever ask the really relevant questions (until it is too late), unless of course Alan "Taz" Grayson is wearing his dollar tie, In which case all bets are off.
The vote was as shoo-in all the way. There was some noise but it did not amount to much. Bernanke has too many friends for a Senate slap down. One of them is Alan Blinder. Let's just say we don't agree.
Is it time to offer a human sacrifice to atone for the financial crisis? You don’t give an arsonist a medal for putting out the fire. How the smartest kid from rural Dillon, South Carolina saved the world. When do we find out how smart Bernanke really is? Nothing less than the fate of the free world depends on the answer.
Darrell Issa Seeks To Expand AIG Disclosure Inquiry To Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson And Goldman's FriedmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2010 16:10 -0500
Soon coming to a daylight drama TV show near you: Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Stephen Friedman, valiantly defending America from itself and the dumb peasants that inhabit it.
To us, the confirmation hearings last week before the Senate Banking Committee only reaffirm in our minds that Benjamin Shalom Bernanke does not deserve a second term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
On December 3rd, senators will have to decide: will they vote with their conscience, or with Wall Street's checkbook. Bernie Sanders has made his choice: "No, I absolutely will not vote for Mr. Bernanke. He is part of the problem. He's the smartest guy in the world, why didn't he do anything to prevent us from sinking into this disaster that Wall Street caused and which he was a part of? No, I will not vote for Bernanke to stay on as chairman."
The foreign exchange value of the dollar has moved over a wide range during the past year or so. When financial stresses were most pronounced, a flight to the deepest and most liquid capital markets resulted in a marked increase in the dollar. More recently, as financial market functioning has improved and global economic activity has stabilized, these safe haven flows have abated, and the dollar has accordingly retraced its gains. The Federal Reserve will continue to monitor these developments closely. We are attentive to the implications of changes in the value of the dollar and will continue to formulate policy to guard against risks to our dual mandate to foster both maximum employment and price stability. Our commitment to our dual objectives, together with the underlying strengths of the U.S. economy, will help ensure that the dollar is strong and a source of global financial stability.
No mention of Gold
"When you hear about the Federal Reserve Transparency Act getting stalled in committee, think of Daniel Webster, bought and paid for with central bank money. When you read Fed apologia in the New York Times, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal denouncing the "reckless populism" of the Act, think of the newspaper editors in Biddle's pocket."
"When people kid around that the Fed has become another hedge fund now that it is the lender of first, second and last resort — to mention the market-maker for everyone including RVs and mobile homes — it really is no joke at all. See NY Fed in Hiring Spree as Assets Soar. The New York Fed is seeking to bolster its staffing of traders — not research staff, but traders — by nearly 70%!! When will the Fed start hiring investment bankers? That is what we would like to know."
It seems just yesterday that Ben Bernanke was rehearsing for the role of the Alzheimer's patient antagonist in Joel Schumacher's latest mad scientist-becomes-insane global dictator B-grade movie, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, after firing back with a catatonic "I don't recall" after catatonic "I don't recall" when asked to remember even one of the events in what historians will likely one day consider among the most critical 24 hours for modern capitalism. Many thought that this spectacle was merely a way for politicians to score populist points in a McCarthesque witch hunt sequel of the villain de jour play. It seems they were wrong.