Monetary Policy

Ben Bernanke and Chet Roosevelt Forever

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By now you've probably heard enough claims about what Ben Bernanke was saying or predicting in 2005 or 2006 that you're not sure which wrong prognostication the current Federal Reserve Bank chairman did or did not make. (Bernanke did not for example claim, "Blake is gonna wipe the floor with Jordin, bee-yatch," in 2006. That was 2007.) Now you can check your recollections against the tape:

Does anybody believe these selective clips are damning? Note that the evidence Bernanke deployed in each of these clips was more or less true at the time. Anybody who often speaks to cameras makes statements that will eventually look silly. That's more true if the anybody in question is being called upon, by non-experts, to play a role that is no longer tenable in human civilization: calm but candid elder potentate.

These clips do, however, support the case for generally reducing the authority of those people whose job it is to manipulate the nation's monopoly currency.

And since five minutes of Ben Bernanke fielding moronic questions from illiterates is four minutes and fiftynine seconds more than most people care for, here's a laff-filled clip of the president I predict will turn out to be President Obama's true model and precursor: Chet Roosevelt.

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  1. That’s more true if the anybody in question is being called upon, by non-experts, to play a role that is no longer tenable in human civilization: calm but candid elder potentate.

    Yeah, like Bernanke didn’t want this job but was forced into taking it by those non-experts. When you’re asking for the personal authority to spend $700B of taxpayer money in the way you think will help the economy best, you’d better be able to tell me what color underwear I’m wearing without looking.

    1. Absolutely true. And Lois Lane is the greatest journalist of all time because she asked that question.

      1. Or the worst because she’s easily fooled by a pair of glasses.

  2. You can’t string a bunch of snippets together to make point. You can look at a general content of public, no clue what was being said behind fed doors in private, statements about no bubble and “all is well” statements up until it was obvious the horse was out of the barn and molesting your neighbors schnauzer. They screamed “all’s well” before, during, and even after the ship sank.

    Ben in 2002 before the ship started sinking:

    Moreover, asset prices contain an enormous amount of useful and timely information about developments in the broader economy, information that should certainly be taken into account in the setting of monetary policy.

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/…..efault.htm

    Inflation adjusted housing values (one of the more dramatic visuals, does that make it visual hyperbole?):
    http://www.financialsense.com/…..t10_lg.gif

    I understand the principles. I get it that if the fundamentals are strong the bubble is supported and probably not a bubble per se. I get it, coming off the tech bubble where the word fundamentals wasn’t even uttered as assets were driven through the roof on unicorn pee and rainbows. I get it that when you see another rise in an asset price and there are some fundamentals that don’t look too bad you think no bubble. But for fucks sake. The prices on homes didn’t rise. They shot to the fucking moon, passed the moon, and headed for your anus.

    1. it was obvious the horse was out of the barn and molesting your neighbors schnauzer.

      That Polanski sure gets around.

  3. An Americathon reference? Bravo, Tim, bravo. I bet that’s not even on DVD. But it should be.

    My third-favorite role for Chief Dan George.

    1. The closest Americathon has come to DVD is the trailer for it is on the 42nd Street Forever: Vol. 4 trailer compilation DVD.

    2. the horse was out of the barn and molesting your neighbors schnauzer
      They shot to the fucking moon, passed the moon, and headed for your anus.

      Post of the week.

  4. “I’m Chet Roosevelt, your President, and I love you.” – Classic.

  5. Yet another reason why any economist making a prediction needs to be hung from the nearest yardarm. There are just too many damned variables for predictions to make sense.

    There ARE some things you can predict, however. Stuff like “if you throw a brick in the air it will eventually come down”, “if you keep drinking like that you will get sick”, and “we’re in the middle of a housing bubble and it will eventually burst”.

  6. It’s ridiculous in this age of the Internet and rampant piracy that I can’t watch Americathon from the comfort of my own home.

    1. You can’t find it on the intertubez?

  7. “Note that the evidence Bernanke deployed in each of these clips was more or less true at the time.”

    Sorry, no it wasn’t

  8. I’m in love with Tim Cavanaugh and I’m drunk. One is not necessarily predicated on the other.

  9. Is this supposed to be the weekend fun link?

    1. Why, are you having fun?

  10. Thread, not link. Ugh, need more coffee.

  11. How have I never heard of this movie before? It looks amazing.

  12. “Does anybody believe these selective clips are damning?”

    Yes. If they guy was consistently wrong in his previous predictions about the economy, then his current predictions about the economy should be called into question. That seems pretty obvious to me.

  13. Is this supposed to be the weekend fun link?

    Thread, not link. Ugh, need more coffee.

    The last post that goes up on Friday is the weekend chit-chat/political thread.

    So sayeth I.

  14. I refuse to stand idly by and allow you topicality civilians to talk about anything besides Ben Bernanke on this thread. For the sake of your dogs, cats, parakeets, guinea pigs, and any other non-civilian creatures residing on your property, I suggest you avoid testing me on this topic.

    1. Last night I took on a guy in a judo match with a blindfold on.

      All I have are clownfish. But I honestly would not miss them too much.

      1. Do they have any personalities, the clownfish?

        1. Compared to me, yeah.

  15. Weekend Opinionator: An Olympian Defeat for Obama

    Damn, people sure are trying to read a lot into this.

    Me? I’m just embarrasses that the United States Prresident lowered himself to lobbying the IOC.

  16. $J_D$,

    It’s like the Jimmy Carter swamp rabbit episode. Taken by itself it’s not a big deal, but it reinforces an existing perception — that Obama thinks his mere presence and golden oratory can move mountains.

    From $J_D$’s link, the following QFTed passage from Commentary’s Jennifer Rubin:

    Why did Obama invest so much personal capital and time for this? Well, he simply can’t help himself. It’s the same force of ego that drives him on to those TV talk shows again and again and that imagines that a grand speech with no content and no appeal outside his base will be a game changer on health-care reform.

    It’s also another reminder that, apparently, there isn’t anyone influential enough in the White House to keep the president from embarrassing himself. No one to say, “Enough with the talk shows.” No one to explain that presidents should not invest their personal credibility and standing to beg the IOC on behalf of his hometown. No one, unfortunately, to direct him back to the job of making timely, forceful decisions to defend America’s real interests. Not an interest in getting the Olympics, but the interests in defanging Iran, in maintaining robust alliances with friendly democracies, in executing a winning strategy in Afghanistan, and in readjusting domestic policy away from job-killing measures and toward job-creating ones.

  17. I must say I hadn’t foreseen the liberal response to this happenstance: complaining that conservatives are unpatriotic for being happy Chicago didn’t get the games.

    It’s not often that conservatives celebrate the U.S. losing out to countries like Brazil and Spain, especially not when the loss involves a prominent event like the Summer Olympics. But when the International Olympic Committee eliminated Chicago as a potential host for the 2016 games in the first round of voting on Friday, the right broke out the champagne.

    1. My dad told me he didn’t want Chicago to get it because those things are not a net gain for the host. He said “It’s just a boondoggle where a few people are going to get rich and the rest of us are going to take it in the chops.”

      I kind of think that should be a dictionary definition of a boondoggle.

    2. No references to Palestinians dancing in the streets after 9/11? I’m disappointed, Alex Koppelman.

    3. There is something a bit conspicuous about having the President and First Lady take a multimillion-dollar trip, at taxpayer expense, to pitch their home city to the IOC. The vote had the appearance of a snub, but there may have been (read: was) politicking over the vote. Nonetheless, this looks like a loss for Obama, Chicago, and generally more Democrats than Republicans. This would make anyone on the right happy.

      And of course, the real winner here is Matt Drudge, for highlighting the ongoing *ahem* problem of gang violence in the windy city.

  18. Why in the ever loving fuck is our president out lobbying for the Olympic games to be in a US city? Not only is that totally not his job, the fact that he was doing it for the city he used to be a politician in, and undoubtedly still has cronies in, is utterly embarrassing. Who the FUCK in his staff thought this was a smooth move?

    And on top of it all, he gets utterly rejected immediately. Could he look like more of a douche? I am just mystified by why he thought this was something he should do.

    1. Could he look like more of a douche?

      That fake presidential seal comes to mind. Using the post office as an example of why we should trust the feds to run health care says “douche” to me. I’m sure I could think of more; he’s been in office almost ten months.

  19. Me? I’m just embarrasses that the United States Prresident lowered himself to lobbying the IOC.

    Well, he’s already bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia. Really, I don’t think you can get much lower than that. If he kisses Kim Jong-Il’s ass, let me know.

    Could he look like more of a douche?

    I had pretty low expectations when he was elected. He dove under them pretty quickly, and has kept on sinking.

  20. My dad told me he didn’t want Chicago to get it because those things are not a net gain for the host. He said “It’s just a boondoggle where a few people are going to get rich and the rest of us are going to take it in the chops.”

    Your dad’s got it right.
    Marge the waitress and Jim the electrician aren’t getting tickets to the opening ceremonies, boxin, track and field …

    They might get to see some rhytmic dance pre-lims if they’re lucky. Yeah, that’s worth turning a city upside down for a month and going millions of dollars into debt for.

    Screw theaded comments and where the hell is preview?!

  21. Don’t get me started on the evil that is Saudi fuckin’ Arabia.

    The day the Wahabbi clerics and the royal family’s heads end up displayed on spikes can’t come soon enough.

    Yeah blue teamers, I fucking know that Bush sucked up to the Saudis too. A pox on both your houses.

  22. I had pretty low expectations when he was elected. He dove under them pretty quickly, and has kept on sinking.

    Sure, totally. But…lobbying for Olympic games? And getting pwned? WTF? If this were Bush the ridicule from the left would be absolutely brutal, and rightfully so.

  23. If this were Bush the ridicule from the left would be absolutely brutal, and rightfully so.

    True. It’ll be interesting to see if Stewart / Colbert / Maher have anything to say about this.

    The day the Wahabbi clerics and the royal family’s heads end up displayed on spikes can’t come soon enough.

    I had a friend who was in Gulf War I. I think the phrase he used for the Saudis (the royal family, not Joe Saud) was “total scum”.

  24. Screw theaded comments and where the hell is preview?!

    LUDDITE!!!

    I share the latter sentiment.

  25. There was a time, long ago, when I’d say I want to watch Americathon again in its entirety, and several posts later, a link would be posted that would solve my problem.

    I cry for an America that can’t get me this film on demand.

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