Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans, the State of the Union is……….. tragic and, at the same time, comical. And it’s not a laughing matter. As constitutional conservatives, and believers in facts, law, precepts and competency in America, with faith, hope and dreams cleansing our inner systems but not clouding the issues as we go about our various affairs, we often remark about the Liberal Statist Progressive tendency to promote emotion and interject “feelings” into the debate about how to run our affairs.
This is a favorite tack of Party Politicians lacking principles to guide their decision-making, or empirical data to support their arguments. We have come to expect that. We have, sadly, even come to expect that from certain quarters on our side of the aisle. But from the professionals, from the managers, from the technicians, we expect better. So it is with great dismay that we relate to you that the Federal Reserve, a crucial pivot point for the American monetary and economic system, rightly or wrongly, for a hundred years or so, is led these days by a person who is apparently bereft of empiricism, science and sound management techniques and has reduced his institution, and his reporting and recommending to the government and the people, to some kind of soap opera, or something.
“…it is clear that many individuals and households continue to struggle with difficult economic and financial conditions,” Bernanke said in a prerecorded video speech for a Massachusetts conference.
In a commencement address two years ago, Bernanke talked about “The Economics of Happiness.” He said studies have shown that income and wealth play a role in how people define their own happiness, but there are other factors as well – “a strong sense of support from belonging to a family or core group and a broader community, a sense of control over one’s life, a feeling of confidence or optimism about the future and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances.”
Alternative measures of well-being are being developed around the world and have started to play a role in policy debates and statistical analysis, he said.
“It is clear that individuals and households continue to struggle.” Thanks for that report, Ben. How much do you get paid for pearls of wisdom like that?
Do people have to have an economics doctorate from Princeton to understand that optimism or pessimism, or giddiness or clinical depression or any other factors play a role in spending or saving habits? We think not. Does the Chairman of the Fed need to be devoting a whole lot of time, energy and attention to the feel-good/feel-bad/ grocery shopping tendencies of the everyday housewife? We think not either.
This is all just more of the same psychobabble you get from ‘experts’ on other topics under the sun. Yes, Business takes a lot into consideration, as does the everyday housewife. But you cannot run the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America by doting on or attempting to micromanage the nuanced emotional state of every entity from a conglomeration to a homeless person on the street. Do your job, Bernanke. Guaging sentiment isn’t crucial right now. Whacking regulatory schemes and half-a-million pages of tax law is. Oh, and by the way, 20 million boomers not getting jack on a lifetime of saving is pretty depressing, if you really want to sympathize. Confidence? Not in you, bub.
A clue about this could have been had a while back when the Fed decided to crank up the presses and just print lots of money and scatter it across the land. We don’t know if Bernanke coined the phrase “Quantitative Easing”, but the press and the pols and even most of the economists lapped it up like it was some sort of technical term. For God’s sake, it was a hoity-toit for ‘the Fed as Santa Claus’. When people use terms like “quantitative easing” it means they are conning you into thinking they know what they’re doing. And of course that they want to “ease” your pain.
Now that Bernanke has resorted to the politics of feel-goodism and feel-badism, and not only that, reduced his agency’s analysis of finances in this country to the “sense” of “belonging” to a “community” (see Karl Marx, e.g.), we could perhaps be more easily persuaded to go along with the libertarian calls to ‘audit the Fed’, or maybe even to ‘abolish the Fed’ (see Ron Paul, e.g.). We suppose the fact that there are corruptocrats and idiots in Congress could possibly lead us to putting the quaedus on other American institutions, too. But that’s not our focus today.
Our theme and our message is that you can excuse a technocrat, or a manager, or an executive or an administrator for a misstep or a stray comment, or two , sometimes even a small pipedream. But when they resort to methodologies of dissembling, distraction, oratorical flourishes, psychobabble and appeals to emotion, greed, vanity and lust, you ought to be able to deduce that they are incompetent.
It is not remarkable that American exceptionalism is in disfavor and on the wane when the people we elevate to head our institutions are spectactularly unexceptional. (See Barack Obama, e.g.)