As the Federal Reserve conducts its annual conference in Wyoming, the world waits on pins and needles, with baited breath, or every other expression you can muster.
Personally, I’m deeply reminded of two very famous quotes.
First, “The height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein); and second “A sucker is born every minute.” (P.T. Barnum)
This Friday, Ben Bernanke will emerge from his Jackson Hole, and if he sees his shadow…..oops (sorry, that’s Punxsutawney Phil.)
Just like a year ago, the expectation is that Bernanke will announce some grandiose plan that will energize the financial markets, our economy, and the world at large.
This, it is believed, will put an end to the spiraling economic woes we are currently experiencing, as it is hoped that home prices will stop spiraling downward, employers will employ, and Europe will have a kumbaya moment.
The fact that his $600 billion bond buying program was a failure (unless you were long Apple), is really non-consequential because a Keynesian believes that Einstein has no clue when it comes to insanity and, in fact, things will be different this time. So, what will be announced?
Lower interest rates are off the table unless you go negative. Jawboning the markets is a potential, but when three key Fed members dissent, it could be problematic.
I could continue guessing, but only Uncle Ben knows the strategy and the script.
Regardless of what we’ll learn this Friday, there will be those who believe the world has been saved and for a brief shining moment (my respects to March Madness and Men’s NCAA basketball tournament), we can breath a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, every economic indicator, from the Philly Fed Index and new home sales, to CDS spreads and consumer sentiment, points to an economic tsunami of monumental proportions.
It’s regrettable the Federal Reserve has veered from their mandate of price stability and full employment to a role of world problem solver and financier for Obama's failed policies.
In the wake of its attempted solutions, the Fed has definitely emerged as the ultimate problem creator.
So, to those who believe in so-called superheroes (Bernanke and friends) and invest accordingly, you might want to reconsider.
Not only should you remember Einstein and Barnum, but maybe more importantly you should remember someone who was actually born on Groundhog Day, my good neighbor Bob.
He has a favorite saying “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”