Bernanke’s Interview

Like many of you, I just watched Helicopter Ben’s interview in 60 Minutes.  Here’s a quote from the transcript on 60Minutes.com that struck me:

Asked if it’s tax money the Fed is spending, Bernanke said, “It’s not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed, much the same way that you have an account in a commercial bank. So, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. It’s much more akin to printing money than it is to borrowing.”

Hey Ben, why not simply “mark up” the size of every one’s accounts?  What’s that you say?  You can’t do that because it would cause the value of the dollar to drop immediately?  And by creating (printing) money just for the banks, you slow down that process? But guess what – you’re simply delaying the inevitable.

The interview continues…

“You’ve been printing money?” Pelley asked.

“Well, effectively,” Bernanke said. “And we need to do that, because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low. When the economy begins to recover, that will be the time that we need to unwind those programs, raise interest rates, reduce the money supply, and make sure that we have a recovery that does not involve inflation.”

They’ve been printing money (as I’ve said all along) and they plan to stop printing when the economy recovers.  Anyone want to bet on that?  Have anyone – ever – seen a government bureaucracy do something right?

Yeah, that’s a rhetorical question.  I may have more to say about the interview later, but this part really struck me because it’s so stupid.

Just let the bad banks go broke.  The few good ones left will buy up the good assets cheap, and the bad investments (and those who made them) will be gone.  Problem solved.

gk

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