Ben Bernanke

Directed at no one in particular but if a certain jelly donut-addicted Fed Chair has found even his extra-forgiving sweatpants getting too snug, he might want to take note. Read more »

I guess there’s some competition but this to me is clearly the chart of the day:

Ha, no, not really. But actually it is pretty neat:

The Federal Reserve on Friday released blank templates showing the format of the two charts it will use on January 25 to report Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants’ projections of the appropriate target federal funds rate. It also released a draft of an explanatory note that will accompany the projections.

The first chart, which will have shaded bars when released on January 25, will show FOMC participants’ projections for the timing of the initial increase in the target federal funds rate. The second chart, which will have dots representing policymakers’ individual projections when released on January 25, will show participants’ views of the appropriate path of the federal funds rate over the next several years and in the longer run.

Bars and dots! What’s not to like? The actual form, in its forlorn blankness, has the look of an exam you’re supposed to fill out,* and there’s this: Read more »

As you may have heard, the Federal Reserve is now releasing transcripts of its FOMC meetings, in an effort to be open and honest with the public about what it is they do all day. Out this morning are the minutes from 2006′s get-togethers and one thing that stands out is how much fun these guys are having without us! In fact, they spent most of 2006 in stitches, as evidenced by the amount of material The Economist was able to compile under “comments from the Federal Open Market Committee meetings which resulted in laughter.” They’ve got their beard jokes (Mr. Poole: “Okay. Mr. Chairman, it is a great delight to see a 200 percent increase in the number of beards around this table. [Laughter]“), their penis innuendos (Chairman Bernanke: “Still pretty large. [Laughter]“), and their deep nerd humor (“Again, within the normal errors of Okun’s law—despite its name “law,” it’s a pretty loose empirical relationship [laughter]“). But the biggest laugh riot which still holds up today and unquestionably has Alan Greenspan pissing his pants in laughter as he reads it at home? Read more »

I was a little tickled to read this morning that Ben Bernanke had refinanced his mortgage at around the same time the Fed announced Operation Twist in September. There are a couple of ways to read this story. One is that a hard-working and heavily mortgaged civil servant, savvy about the macroeconomy and the rates markets, decided that long-term fixed rates were as low as they are likely to be for a while and so September was a good time to refinance. The other is, as Simone Foxman tongue-in-cheek puts it, “Bernanke Personally Cashed In On Operation Twist.” Conspiracy theories abound with Bernanke, and I’m sure somebody somewhere really thinks that Ben Bernanke intentionally put the U.S. on a path to the Weimar-style hyperinflation that is coming any day now just to save a hundred bucks a month on his mortgage payments, but…I’m with her that it’s an amusing coincidence.

If you like a slightly different flavor of conspiracy, though, you might ask: why wasn’t Bernanke refinancing in, say, July or August? Sure, maybe he was busy with the whole stewardship of the economy and/or after-dinner Kindle reading. Or maybe he knew that the Fed was going to move to lower long-term rates and so abstained from trading based on that. Maybe he was taking advantage of his insider knowledge to make a personal profit, or at least avoid a loss.

Or not, whatever, what a stupid thing to think. But I thought of it again when I read Mr. Steven A. Cohen’s cogent argument that insider trading rules are somewhat more ambiguous than the proper form of address for him: Read more »

But what can he expect, really? So typical. Read more »

Mr. Bernanke said the U.S. recovery, now more than two-and-a-half years old, continues to be “modest.” He conceded the pace of growth has been slower than what the Fed expected. But he was more optimistic about the long run, saying the economy hasn’t been permanently scarred by the financial crisis. “Although important problems certainly exist, the growth fundamentals of the United States do not appear to have been permanently altered by the shocks of the past four years,” the Fed chief told the gathering, which this year focuses on long-term growth prospects for the global economy. [WSJ]

“Now we have a Southern governor, I can’t remember his name. He makes me look like a moderate. I have never once suggested Bernanke committed treason.” [Daily Intel, earlier]