Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Federal Reserve hides its mighty super powers

Apparently it takes more than $800 billion to impress Ben Bernanke, who gave a speech in London saying, gosh, Obama's stimulus package is sweet and all, but won't do much good.

But fear not, because the Federal Reserve has mighty super powers in its arsenal, Bernanke says -- he calls them "powerful tools." Of course, the chairman won't share what those tools are, especially since the rate-cut well has run dry. Perhaps Bernanke will be happier if we give the whole $800 billion to the banks and ask them really nicely to lend out a little of it this time. He has a laundry list of solutions to the mess, solutions which require actions by other people.

Bernanke's word of the day is "stability," which apparently requires "stronger supervisory and regulatory systems" without squashing "financial innovation." Well, good heavens, we wouldn't want to discourage financial innovation, would we? Why, it was the financial innovators who brought us the Ponzi schemes and ARMs, after all. It's like me announcing that my family needs strict rules to keep Benny from eating Hostess cupcakes for dinner, but if Benny finds the cupcakes in the back of the cupboard himself, hey, that's innovation!

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