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.
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]
“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.”Read more »
Earlier today, Ben Bernanke had the pleasure of sitting down for a little Q&A with Congress about the economy. Former Real World cast member Sean Duffy inquired as to whether or not raising taxes would hurt job growth. Ron Paul asked if gold is money and had his mind blown when he was told it was not. And Maxine Waters wanted to know why two white bitches got money from TALF when minority-owned banks didn’t see a dime. Read more »
Let’s pause for a minute and talk about how Ben Bernanke has now confessed that he’s nothing but a tool of the fractional reserve conspiracy that has inflated the global ponzi scheme and destroyed American prosperity and power with its worthless fiat money. Thank hero Ron Paul for finally getting him to admit the truth:
Ron Paul: Do you think gold is money?
Bernanke: [long pause, stares into space, ponders how pretty the flowers must be in Princeton this time of year] No. It’s a precious metal.
Ron Paul: It’s not money? Even if it has been money for 6,000 years*, somebody reversed that, eliminated that economic law?
Bernanke: Well, it’s, y’know, it’s an asset. It’s the same — would you say Treasury bills are money? I don’t think they’re money either but they’re a financial asset.
Ron Paul: Why do central banks hold it if it’s not money?
Bernanke: Well, it’s a form of reserves.
Ron Paul: Why don’t they hold diamonds?
Bernanke: Well it’s tradition, long-term tradition.
Ron Paul: [laughs derisively] Some people still think it’s money.