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November 9, 2010
Has Bernanke 'Jumped the Shark?'
Ben Bernanke's act may be the "jump the shark" moment for the Federal Reserve. Wikipedia discusses the term:
Jumping the shark is an idiom used to denote the point in a television program's history where the plot spins off into absurd storylines or unlikely characterizations. These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.Barry Ritholtz comments on the QE2 reaction, including a negative opinion from a Fed member:
Jon Hein explained the concept as follows: "It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on...it's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it 'Jumping the Shark.' From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same."
The FOMC decision to buy more Treasuries has elicited responses unlike the Fed has ever seen I believe, from not only in defense of it by Bernanke himself but from overseas officials who don't like it. Non voting member Fisher is chiming in today in a speech and he doesn't like it either. "Liquidity and abundant money are not the binding constraints on the economic activity we wish to see...The remedy for what ails the economy is, in my view, in the hands of the fiscal and regulatory authorities, not the Fed. I could not state with conviction that purchasing another several hundred billion $'s of Treasuries would lead to job creation and final demand spurring behavior. But I could envision such action would lead to a declining $, encourage further speculation, provoke commodity hoarding, accelerate the transfer of wealth from the deliberate saver and the unfortunate, and possibly place at risk the stature and independence of the Fed." The Creature from Jekyll Island may be in danger of becoming an extinct species. Famed shark-hunter Ron Paul is firing up his boat.
Monty Pelerin at www.economicnoise.com