Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.RED ALERT: Paris Terror Attacks - What to Expect Next - STRATFOR
2.Paris Terror Attacks, Death Pangs of a Dying Religion, and Impact on BrExit EU Referendum - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Paris Terror Attacks, Islamic State Attempting to Spark Civil War in France - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Three Shocking Charts That Prove Gold Price Rally Is Coming - Sean Brodrick
5.Stock Market Nifty-Fifty Becomes Fab-Five; Return of the 'Four Horseman' - Mike_Shedlock
6.Africa Population Explosion - Why Europe's Migrant Crisis is Going to Get A Lot Worse - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Gold Mining Stocks May Be The Buy Of The Century - Jeff_Berwick
8.Grandmaster Putin Beats Uncle Sam at His Own Game - Mike_Whitney
9.BRICS? No, CRISIS - Raymond_Matison
10.UK Housing Market Affordability, House Prices Momentum and Trend Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
Turkey Downs Russian Jet to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire - 28th Nov 15
Stock Market Quiet Week as Primary 5 Continues - 28th Nov 15
Black Friday, Weekend for Europe's Migrants - 28th Nov 15
HUI and Gold - Who's Leading Whom? - 28th Nov 15
Gold And Silver - No Ending Action, But End May Be Near - 28th Nov 15
Social and Cultural Distress Dividing The Nation - Fourth Turning - 28th Nov 15
Sheffield Houses Prices 2015, Best Estate Agents As Rated by Buyers and Sellers - 28th Nov 15
Stock Market Top Valuations, at a Critical Juncture - 27th Nov 15
The Top Shopping Opportunity on Black Friday - 27th Nov 15
Economics Is About Scarcity, Property, and Relationships - 27th Nov 15
UK Immigration Crisis Hits New Extreme of 336k Net Migration, up 32% on 2014 - 27th Nov 15
Vauxhall Zafira B Fire Danger Recall - What to Do Video - 26th Nov 15
Triggers In US Dollar Collapse - 26th Nov 15
Apple Stock is a 10-Year Short - Bear Market Environment - 26th Nov 15
U.S. Federal Reserve Rate Hike - 26th Nov 15
George Osborne's War on Buy to Let Sector Trending Towards Doomsday - 26th Nov 15
Will Turkey Drag NATO into War With Russia in Syria? - 25th Nov 15
George Osborne’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review Full Text - 25th Nov 15
Will Fresh QE From ECB Boost Gold? - 25th Nov 15
Sheffield, Yorkshire and Humberside House Prices Forecast 2016-2018 - 25th Nov 15
Investors Watch Out For The Auto Industry… - 24th Nov 15
BEA Revises 3rd Quarter 2015 US GDP Economic Growth Upward to 2.07% - 24th Nov 15
Stock Market Supports Are Being Broken - 24th Nov 15
Is Gold Price on the Verge of a Breakout? - 24th Nov 15
Fed’s Tarullo: U.S. Interest Rates Liftoff Should Wait for Signs of Inflation - 24th Nov 15
Silver Price, COT, US Dollar Updates and More - 24th Nov 15
UK Regional House Prices Analysis - Video - 23rd Nov 15
Crude Oil Swinging For The Fences - A 20 to 1 Option Play - 23rd Nov 15
US Dollar, CRB, Oil, Gas, Copper and Gold - The Chartology of Deflation - 23rd Nov 15
UK Regional House Prices, Cheapest and Most Expensive Property Markets - 23rd Nov 15
Stock Market Rally Losing Momentum? - 23rd Nov 15
Will Gold Price Drop Below $1000 Soon? - 23rd Nov 15
Gold and Silver Sector Big Green Light and Low Risk Entry Setup... - 23rd Nov 15
Limits to Economic Growth - Challenge and Choices - 22nd Nov 15
Long Dollar Trade and Current Copper Price Below Cost of Production - 22nd Nov 15
UK Housing Market House Prices Affordability Crisis - Video - 21st Nov 15
The Fed Has Set the Stage for a Stock Market Crash - 21st Nov 15
Stock Market Primary V Wave Continues - 21st Nov 15
Gold And Silver - Value Of Knowing The Trend - 21st Nov 15
UK Footsie Bulls Set To Foot The Bill - 21st Nov 15
UK Housing Market Affordability, House Prices Momentum and Trend Forecast - 21st Nov 15
GDX Gold Miners’ Strong Q3 Results - 20th Nov 15
End of Schengen, Stock Market’s Technical Strength Grows - 20th Nov 15
Justice for All and The Curious Case of Zambia - 20th Nov 15
Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Resurrection of Old Europe - 20th Nov 15
Silver Prices and The Management of Perception - 20th Nov 15
Stock Market Nifty-Fifty Becomes Fab-Five; Return of the 'Four Horseman' - 20th Nov 15
Waiting for Goldot Again - 20th Nov 15
Michael Curran Goes Down-Market Shopping for Gold Stock Winners - 20th Nov 15
Why Isn’t This Incredibly Bearish Bond Market Development Making the News? - 19th Nov 15
SPX Appears to have Stopped its Rally - 19th Nov 15
The Great Fall Of China Started At Least 4 Years Ago - 19th Nov 15
Using Elliott Waves: As Simple As A-B-C - 19th Nov 15
Has Deflation Been Ddefeated? - 19th Nov 15
Dow Jones Stock Market Index is Not Going to Crash - 19th Nov 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Reasons to Get Excited About Japanese Stocks

QE2 Unmitigated Failure – The Bernanke Chronicles

Economics / Quantitative Easing Jun 09, 2011 - 08:52 AM GMT

By: James_Quinn

Economics Diamond Rated - Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleOur self proclaimed "expert" on the Great Depression, Ben Bernanke, seems to be feeling the pressure. His theories worked so well when he modeled them in his posh corner office at Princeton. He could saunter down the hallway and get his buddy Krugman to confirm his belief that the Federal Reserve was just too darn restrictive between 1929 and 1932, resulting in the first Great Depression. I wonder if there will be a future Federal Reserve Chairman, 80 years from now, studying how the worst Federal Reserve Chairman in history (not an easy feat) created the Greatest Depression that finally put an end to the Great American Military Empire. Bernanke spent half of his speech earlier this week trying to convince himself and the rest of the world that his extremist monetary policy of keeping interest rates at 0% for the last two years, printing money at an astounding rate, and purposely trying to devalue the US currency, had absolutely nothing to do with the surge in oil and food prices in the last year. Based on his scribbling since November of last year, it seems that Ben is trying to win his own Nobel Prize - for fiction.

His argument was that simple supply and demand has accounted for all of the price increases that have spread revolution across the world. His argument centered around growth in emerging markets that have driven demand for oil and commodities higher, resulting in higher prices. As usual, a dollop of truth is overwhelmed by the Big Lie. Here is Bernanke's outlook for inflation:

"Let me turn to the outlook for inflation. As you all know, over the past year, prices for many commodities have risen sharply, resulting in significantly higher consumer prices for gasoline and other energy products and, to a somewhat lesser extent, for food. Overall inflation measures reflect these price increases: For example, over the six months through April, the price index for personal consumption expenditures has risen at an annual rate of about 3.5%, compared with an average of less than 1% over the preceding two years. Although the recent increase in inflation is a concern, the appropriate diagnosis and policy response depend on whether the rise in inflation is likely to persist. So far at least, there is not much evidence that inflation is becoming broad-based or ingrained in our economy; indeed, increases in the price of a single product--gasoline--account for the bulk of the recent increase in consumer price inflation. An important implication is that if the prices of energy and other commodities stabilize in ranges near current levels, as futures markets and many forecasters predict, the upward impetus to overall price inflation will wane and the recent increase in inflation will prove transitory."

So our Federal Reserve Chairman, with a supposedly Mensa level IQ, declares that prices have risen due to demand from emerging markets. He also declares that US economic growth will pick up in the 2nd half of this year. He then declares that inflation will only prove transitory as energy and food prices will stop rising. I know I'm not a Princeton economics professor, but if US demand increases due to a recovering economy, along with continued high demand in emerging markets, wouldn't the demand curve for oil and commodities move to the right, resulting in even higher prices?

Ben Bernanke wants it both ways. He is trapped in a web of his own making and he will lie, obfuscate, hold press conferences, write editorials, seek interviews on 60 Minutes, and sacrifice the US dollar in order to prove that his economic theories are sound. They are not sound. They are reckless, crazy, and will eventually destroy the US economic system. You cannot solve a crisis caused by excessive debt by creating twice as much debt. The man must be judged by his words, actions and results.

November 4, 2010

With the U.S. economy faltering last summer, Ben Bernanke decided to launch a desperate attempt to re-inflate the stock market bubble. The S&P 500 had peaked at 1,217 in April 2010 and had fallen 16% by July. This was unacceptable to Bernanke's chief clientele - Wall Street and the richest 1% in the country. At Jackson Hole in August he gave a wink and nod to his peeps, letting them know he had their backs. It was safe to gamble again. He'd ante up the $600 billion needed to revive Wall Street. It worked wonders. By April 2011, the S&P 500 had risen to 1,361, a 33% increase. Mission accomplished on a Bush-like scale.

Past Federal Reserve Chairmen have kept silent about their thoughts and plans. Not Bernanke. He writes editorials, appears regularly on 60 Minutes, and now holds press conferences. Does it seem like he is trying too hard trying to convince the public that he has not lost control of the situation? QE2 was officially launched on November 4, 2010 with his Op-Ed in the Washington Post. He described the situation, what he was going to do, and what he was going to accomplish. Let's assess his success.

"The Federal Reserve's objectives - its dual mandate, set by Congress - are to promote a high level of employment and low, stable inflation. Unfortunately, the job market remains quite weak; the national unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, a large number of people can find only part-time work, and a substantial fraction of the unemployed have been out of work six months or longer. The heavy costs of unemployment include intense strains on family finances, more foreclosures and the loss of job skills." - Ben Bernanke - Washington Post Editorial - November 4, 2010

Ben understands his dual mandate of high employment and low inflation, but he seems to have a little trouble accomplishing it. Things were so much easier at Princeton. Since August 2010 when Ben let Wall Street know he was coming to the rescue, the working age population has gone up by 991,000, while the number of employed Americans has risen by 401,000, and another 1,422,000 people decided to kick back and leave the workforce. That is only $1.5 million per job created. This should get him a spot in the Keynesian Hall of Shame.

The official unemployment rate is rising after Ben has spent $600 billion and stands at 9.1% today. A true measurement of unemployment as provided by John Williams reveals a true rate of 22%.

Any reasonable assessment of Ben's success regarding part one of his dual mandate, would conclude that he has failed miserably. He must have focused his attention on mandate number two - low inflation. Bernanke likes to call inflation transitory. Inflationistas like Bernanke will always call inflation transitory. His latest proclamations reference year over year inflation of 3.5%. This is disingenuous as the true measurement should be since he implemented QE2. The official annualized inflation since December 2010 is 5.3%. The real inflation rate as calculated exactly as it was in 1980 now exceeds 10%.

Mr. Dual Mandate seems to have slipped up. As he stated in his editorial, he wanted to fend off that dreaded deflation:  

“Today, most measures of underlying inflation are running somewhat below 2 percent, or a bit lower than the rate most Fed policymakers see as being most consistent with healthy economic growth in the long run. Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy - especially when the economy is struggling. In the most extreme case, very low inflation can morph into deflation (falling prices and wages), which can contribute to long periods of economic stagnation.”

He certainly has succeeded in fighting off deflation. Let's list his anti-deflation accomplishments:

  • Oil prices have risen 35% since September 2010.
  • Unleaded gas has risen 50% since September 2010.
  • Gold has risen 24% since September 2010.
  • Silver has risen 85% since September 2010.
  • Copper has risen 20% since September 2010.
  • Corn has risen 67% since September 2010.
  • Soybeans have risen 40% since September 2010.
  • Coffee has risen by 44% since September 2010.
  • Cotton has risen 88% since September 2010.

Amazing how supply and demand got out of balance at the exact moment that Bernanke unleashed a tsunami of speculation by giving the all clear to Wall Street, handing them $20 billion per week for the last seven months. Another coincidence seemed to strike across the Middle East where the poor, who spend more than 50% of their meager income on food, began to revolt as Bernanke's master plan to enrich Wall Street destroyed the lives of millions around the globe. Revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria were spurred by economic distress among the masses. Here in the U.S., Bernanke has only thrown savers and senior citizens under the bus with his zero interest rate policy and dollar destruction.

Bernanke's Virtuous Circle

"This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion."  Ben Bernanke - Washington Post Editorial - November 4, 2010

Ben Bernanke could not have been any clearer in his true purpose for QE2. He wanted to create a stock market rally which would convince the public the economy had recovered. As suckers poured back into the market, the wealth effect would convince people to spend money they didn't have, again. This is considered a virtuous cycle to bankers. He declared that buying $600 billion of Treasuries would drive down long-term interest rates and revive the housing market. His unspoken goal was to drive the value of the dollar lower, thereby enriching the multinational conglomerates like GE, who had shipped good US jobs overseas for the last two decades. Bernanke succeeded in driving the dollar 15% lower since last July. Corporate profits soared and Wall Street cheered. Here is a picture of Bernanke's virtuous cycle:

Whenever a talking head in Washington DC spouts off about a new policy or program, I always try to figure out who benefits in order to judge their true motives. Since August 2010, the stock price of the high end retailer Tiffany & Company has gone up 88% as its profits in the last six months exceeded its annual income from the prior two years. Over this same time frame, 2.2 million more Americans were forced into the Food Stamp program, bringing the total to a record 44.6 million people, or 14.4% of the population. But don't fret, Wall Street paid out $21 billion in bonuses to themselves for a job well done. This has done wonders for real estate values in NYC and the Hamptons. See - a virtuous cycle.

Do you think Bernanke mingles with Joe Sixpack on the weekends at the cocktail parties in DC? Considering that 90% of the US population owns virtually no stocks, Bernanke's virtuous cycle only applied to his friends and benefactors on Wall Street.

But surely his promise of lower interest rates and higher home prices benefitted the masses. The largest asset for the vast majority of Americans is their home. Let's examine the success of this part of his master plan. Ten year Treasury rates bottomed at 2.4% in October 2010, just prior to the launching of QE2. Rates then rose steadily to 3.7% by February 2011. I'm not a Princeton professor, but I think rising rates are not normally good for the housing market. Today, rates sit at 2.9%, higher than they were prior to the launch of QE2.

I'm sure Ben would argue that interest rates rose because the economy is recovering and the virtuous cycle is lifting all boats (or at least the yachts on Long Island Sound). Surely, housing must be booming again. Well, it appears that since Ben fired up his helicopters in November, national home prices have fallen 5% and are accelerating downward at an annual rate of 10%. There are 10.9 million home occupiers underwater on their mortgage, or 22.7% of all homes with a mortgage. There are over 6 million homeowners either delinquent on their mortgage or already in the foreclosure process. It certainly looks like another Bernanke success story.

Bernanke's conclusion at the end of his Op-Ed in November 2010 was that his critics were wrong and his expertise regarding the Great Depression trumped rational economic theory. By enriching Wall Street and creating inflation, his virtuous cycle theory would lead to job creation and a chicken in every pot.

"Although asset purchases are relatively unfamiliar as a tool of monetary policy, some concerns about this approach are overstated. Critics have, for example, worried that it will lead to excessive increases in the money supply and ultimately to significant increases in inflation. But the Federal Reserve has a particular obligation to help promote increased employment and sustain price stability. Steps taken this week should help us fulfill that obligation."
Ben Bernanke - Washington Post Editorial - November 4, 2010

Anyone impartially assessing the success of QE2 would have to conclude that it has been an unmitigated failure and has put the country on the road to perdition. In three weeks, the Federal Reserve will stop pumping heroin into the veins of Wall Street. The markets are already reacting negatively, as the S&P 500 has fallen 6% and interest rates have begun to fall. As soon as Bernanke takes his foot off the accelerator, the US economy stalls out because we never cleaned the gunk (debt) out of the fuel line. Jesse puts it as simply as possible.

"The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained recovery." -

Bernanke and his Wall Street masters want to obscure the truth so they don't have to accept the consequences of their actions. The economy and the markets will decline over the summer. Bernanke is a one trick pony. His solution will be QE3, but it will be marketed as something different. He will appear on 60 Minutes and write another Op-Ed. Ben Bernanke will go down in history as the Federal Reserve Chairman that brought about the Greatest Depression and hammered the final nails into the coffin of the Great American Empire.

Join me at to discuss truth and the future of our country.

By James Quinn

James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.

These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.

© 2011 Copyright James Quinn - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

James Quinn Archive

© 2005-2015 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History