Tag: crankiness

Bernanke op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

Ben Bernanke wants to assure people that the Fed isn’t just throwing money at the current problems, unaware of the long-term impact on inflation.

My colleagues and I believe that accomodative policies will likely be warranted for an extended period. At some point, however, as economic recovery takes hold, we will need to tighten monetary policy to prevent the emergence of an inflation problem down the road. The Federal Open Market Committee, which is responsible for setting U.S. monetary policy, has devoted considerable time to issues relating to an exit strategy. We are confident we have the necessary tools to withdraw policy accommodation, when that becomes appropriate, in a smooth and timely manner.

Gee–is everybody confident now? He goes on to tell how it will be done. A few observations:

1) The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is worried enough about confidence that he chooses to make this statement.

2) He does so in a form that allows no questioning or rebuttal.

3) To the extent that he discusses the tools to contract the money supply, it’s all pretty much the same as before. They aren’t nearly as all-powerful as he wants us to believe.

4) Bernanke says almost nothing about the international dimension–including foreign exchange and the impact on what has been the world’s reserve currency.

5) All his promises miss the political dimension altogether. Are we really to believe that those who have been personally helped by recent policies–bailed out banks, investment houses, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.–are going to sit by and watch the Fed crank up the pain? The relation of Congress and State governments to the stimulus package is similar to that of an addict to cocaine. The American people will want their freebies, and they won’t want to pay for them.

I’m supposed to feel more confident after reading this?

Bernanke Op-ed in WSJ: The Fed’s Exit Strategy – WSJ.com

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Evidence that I am a cranky crank

I like Foreign Policy’s Passport blog. I really do. But this kind of thing BUGS the living daylights out of me.

They have a perfectly good post on a bizarre attempt by a Russian regional governor to increase the local birthrate. And it’s illustrated with a stock photo of a rather bizarre postage stamp commemorating the “Week of the Child”. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it says. The reason I’m not totally positive?

The stamp is from Yugoslavia. It’s in Serbian, which is written in Cyrillic, and, of course, has much similarity to Russian, but isn’t Russian.

The bottom of the stamp reads “Belgrade, Oct 4-11, 1954”. The initials across the child’s chest are “FNRJ”, for Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia.

Anything Soviet, of course, would have СССР on it, as those of us who are old enough to remember the Cold War may recall.

It’s really not fair, because I’m sure that the poster doesn’t read Russian–and the stock photo site that it came from has it tagged as Russian. Still, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

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