Everyone's hating on poor Ben Bernanke these days. Kudlow says Bernanke's lost the plot.
His admission to Senator Jim Bunning of a “lapse of judgment” in the Bartiromo kerfuffle is pure process—not content. His “data-driven” approach to policy is backward looking driving through the rear view mirror.
Bernanke should go back to his confirmation hearing statement, when he stated that price stability is the cornerstone of economic growth. This should be his main message. He should resurrect his numerical inflation target. And he should publicly say that enhanced dollar value is vital to price stability.
Meanwhile, the Austrians have regathered and are taking time to display their ire.
The problem today is simple to state but difficult to solve: The derivatives market is huge. It is far beyond the ability of any or all central banks to solve, once cascading cross defaults spread to the international bank payment system. The modern division of labor, which keeps billions of people alive, has a sword of Damocles above it: the threat of fractional reserve banking’s gridlock in a wave of defaults. This is the ultimate fire sale.
The combination of moral hazard, fractional reserve banking, faith in central banking, and speculators’ desire to make a bundle of money from highly leveraged futures contracts has created a time bomb condition.
Bernanke, following Milton Friedman, thinks that a government-licensed monopoly, the Federal Reserve System, can overcome cascading cross defaults. He has bet your life on this.