Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Can He Say?

Tomorrow's Ben Bernanke press conference is being billed as a can't-miss for serious investors. I wonder what he'll say:

Do you suppose he'll confess his fears? Will he use the Fed's mandate (to essentially keep the world's economy afloat) to justify the bailouts and intervention (in the trillions)? Will he tell of sleepless nights as he lies in wonder of whether the massive injection of liquidity is something he can truly reign in when he deems necessary? Will he tell of his fear that he may have created an epic bubble in the bond market? Will he tell of his fear of following in his predecessor's footsteps, whose policies during the last recession were likely the biggest factor leading to the real estate bubble and bust? Will he tell of his fear that perhaps Milton Friedman was right when he said "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon"?


Will he take credit for the economic rebound? Will he assign responsibility for the stock market's recovery to the programs the Fed implemented during and post the recession? Will he blame record commodities prices on purely supply/demand factors (not meaning the supply of newly printed dollars growing faster than newly produced goods)? Will he in essence suggest that the timing of Fed action relative to higher commodities prices reflects correlation but not causality - after proudly declaring that the improving economy/stock market reflects causality and not just correlation?

The latter's a safe bet...

In terms of going forward policy; I don't suspect he'll tell us that the Fed will be measurably less accommodative anytime soon. I imagine we'll hear that it's their intent to complete QE2, and that QE3 is probably not necessary - but not out of the cards should the economy take an unanticipated dip.

Myopic Wall Street will eat it up... Free Marketers will boo and hiss...

I personally feel for the guy, he's doing what he thinks is best. But I can't help but wonder, if he were on the outside looking in, if someone else were doing this bidding, if he wouldn't be an outspoken critic....

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