Quote Of The Day: Ben Bernanke

Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Christopher Cox testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday (photo: Dennis Cook/AP on msn.com)

And no, despite any resemblance, that is NOT a photo of the Three Stooges. A definite case can be made, however, that Mr. Bernanke is surrounded by “speak no evil” and “see no evil”.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James Lockhart testified today before the Senate Banking Committee, about the Bush administration’s $700 billion financial industry bailout plan (see Associated Press article).

As incredible as this sounds, Mr. Bernanke told lawmakers that “you risk a recession with higher unemployment and increased home foreclosures unless you act“.

Risk a recession ?

Could someone tell us what they’re smoking down there in Washington?

What planet is Mr. Bernanke living on ?

If we’re not in a recession, then perhaps the U.S. economy will simply skip the recessionary phase, and just sublime directly into a depression (we’re awfully damn close). We suppose that would be more energy efficient.

We’re kind of surprised that Mr. Bernanke could be so out of touch with average Americans that he doesn’t realize what horrific shape the economy is in. He has spent most of his career in academia, so the isolation of the ivory tower could have something to do with it. And while he has a net worth in excess of $1 million, he earns less than $200,000 a year as Fed Chairman. With the cost of living in the DC area, that’s probably not enough to live a real lavish lifestyle. So, you would think that even if he isn’t your average working stiff, and he probably hasn’t lost his home to foreclosure or gotten a pink slip lately, he would appreciate just how much the average American family is hurting because of the R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N.

Does Mr. Bernanke really believe that a recession is still only a threat at this juncture? It makes us wonder if there might be something in the water in Washington that could be affecting the judgment of our nation’s leaders. On the other hand, he might be under considerable pressure to sing the company song, even if he disagrees with the lyrics. It does beg the question; just how bad must things get before the Bush administration acknowledges we’re in a recession. Would they ever admit it under any circumstances ?

If we’re not in at least a recession (or worse), why is the economy on life support, and why are all of these banks, investment houses and insurance companies going belly up ? And why are the markets so unstable, with one-day 400-point drops on the Dow becoming commonplace, and oil shooting up $20 in a day. And why are so many companies laying off thousands of employees each ?

If this ain’t a recession, what is it ?

A correction ?

A mild downturn ?

A slight dip ?

Turbulence ?

A pre-recession, kind of bumpy ride, but not quite a recession sort of thingy ?

A __________________. (fill in the blank with your own description)

As far as Mr. Bernanke’s warning of “higher unemployment and increased home foreclosures”, you mean it could actually get even worse than it is now ? Really ?

Something to look forward to, huh ?

– Routing By Rumor


1 Comment

Filed under Business, Employment, Jobs, Labor, Money, News, Politics, Quote Of The Day, Routing by Rumor, Stock Markets, The Economy, Your Money

One response to “Quote Of The Day: Ben Bernanke

  1. No, no, no: even though probably almost every individual citizen and resident alien (though I can’t be sure about alien residents) has experienced the two consecutive quarters of negative growth necessary to define a recession, the nation as a whole has not, at least not as determined by specially contrived algorithms of specially contrived denial.

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    Does that mean Lauren agrees with us ?


    I probably just envision a different scenario, RbR. I keep thinking the Fed should just create a public account, fund it with all the nationalized loot, and hand us all ATM cards to use at the Federal Reserve Bank.

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    Well, putting the money directly into the hands of families that are struggling does make a lot of sense. And there are many who feel that the companies that contributed to this mess should be left to self destruct.

    Ah, but ponder this for a moment… Many Americans are against a federal bailout of the financial institutions because it would reward their greed and eagerness to make risky loans or investments. People are also insisting that executive pay at organizations that get bailouts must be capped. In other words, no more gravy train for the bankers or Wall Street crowd at the public’s expense.

    Now, we like the idea of the ATM card giveaway, but since the banks own all of the ATMs, they’ll still cash in by accessing ATM fees when the rest of us go and use those government-supplied cards to get our cash.

    Heads, they win. Tails, they win.

    Maybe a better idea would be to simply mail a package of cash to every family (certified mail, return receipt requested, of course).


    But it isn’t a giveaway; it’s OUR money! It’s a restoration! Or it was our money. . . .

    A fee commensurate with machine ownership, operations, and maintenance is fine with me. But no doubt it can be demonstrated that “costs” will require a fee in excess of 100%.

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good“.

    – Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in Wall Street


    To answer your original question: No, we do not agree.

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    No, no, no !!! It wasn’t us. We weren’t defending greed. Honest.

    It was Gordon Gekko. We just thought it was an apropos line to add to the discussion.

    Now Lauren is all upset with us. Next thing you know, she’ll start an anti-RoutingByRumor letter writing campaign. We’re toast. WordPress will buckle under the intense public pressure and pull the plug on our blog. Our life is ruined. People will put us in the same category as all those Wall Street crooks. They’ll be featuring us on America’s Most Wanted. There will be no place to hide.

    Could anyone tell us which countries do not have extradition treaties with the United States ?


    Ha. We have a unilateral extradite-or-bomb treaty with every nation on earth. Besides, all the good places require quarantines for dogs and cats; I’ve checked.

    But no, no, no again. I wasn’t talking about greed. Greed isn’t a substantive economic term. I certainly defend profit as a necessary production incentive. Fraud is something else, and is motivated by greed, and is indefensible.

    As to the point of disagreement: it’s the basic principle of whether price-coordination or government should run the economy. You would know that if you ever read MY blog! 😀 You evidently favor Keynes and I assuredly favor Sowell. They are as different as East from West. You know, like the Hudson from Puget Sound. . .

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