Most people view the Federal Reserve as an important policying-making body driving the economy. But in this clip from an interview with Jay Matin at Cambridge House, Peter Schiff says the Fed’s primary role is that of a marketing firm selling the populace on bad economics and trying to convince everybody that everything is great.
Peter said he thinks a large part of the Fed’s job today is public relations and spin.
To try to create a false sense of confidence in the US economy and the US dollar.”
Peter referenced an interview he saw with former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The interviewer played clips of Bernanke back in 2005 and 2006 as he claimed everything was great and there was nothing to worry about. Bernanke said there was no housing bubble and any problems in the subprime mortgage market were contained. The interviewer asked Bernanke how it felt to be so wrong.
Look, you couldn’t have been more wrong. And here you were chairman of the Federal Reserve. You had all this information. More than anyone else. Now, he didn’t say, ‘Peter Schiff was out there saying it’s a housing bubble. We’re going to have a financial crisis.’ He didn’t bring me up. But he’s basically saying, ‘You had more information than everybody, yet you were so completely wrong.’ Instead of saying, ‘Yeah, I really feel kind of dumb now that I look back. God, what was I thinking? I was so clueless,’ what Ben Bernanke said, to basically save face, his answer was, ‘Well, you know, I couldn’t exactly speak forthrightly or honestly.’ I can’t remember if he said honestly. But, ‘I couldn’t actually say what I actually thought because I was part of the administration.’ And I’m thinking, what? This is what he just said? Because the Fed is supposed to be independent.”
The former Fed chair just put a spike through the myth of central bank independence. He admitted he was toeing the line for the administration. And as Peter points out, Bernanke was basically saying he got it wrong because he wasn’t even trying to get it right.
[Bernanke was saying] ‘I was just trying to reassure everybody that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about because I was part of the administration.’ I just never believe anything they say at the Fed. I mean, I don’t believe what politicians say either.”
This should give us pause when we hear Jerome Powell assuring us that inflation is “transitory.” Is this just PR spin? Does he know the truth? Is he refusing to tell us because he’s “part of the administration?”
Interestingly, nobody was outraged at Bernanke’s confession. Nobody seemed particularly concerned that a former Fed chair basically admitted he lied to protect a political narrative.
More disturbingly, Peter said on his podcast that he suspects the same thing is happening today.
Either the Fed knows that we have a huge inflation problem on its hands and is lying about it, or it’s completely clueless and doesn’t realize it.”
Neither scenario is particularly comforting.
The Federal Reserve is hanging its hat on the fact that it printed a bunch of money over the last 10 or 20 years and price inflation never reared its ugly head. Therefore, we can do this forever. But as they say in the investing world, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. Peter said he thinks this will ultimately go down as the Fed’s biggest blunder.
Much more so than the mistake in its bad read on subprime problems being contained. The idea that inflation was transitory is going to be an even bigger mistake and an even bigger policy failure, because, by the time the Fed is forced to admit that they were wrong and inflation wasn’t transitory, they will have waited too long to do anything about it.”