I vowed to my editor that I would never again use Einstein’s quote about insanity.
Why? In the not-so-distant past it seemed that in every other one of my columns Einstein’s words would somehow pop up. I tried to convince my editor that it was appropriate because the idiots in charge of running the world kept doing the same thing over and over again (oops).
He reminded me that either I had nothing new to say, which in that case I should refrain from expression, or the so-called leaders in charge were truly idiots who simply couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
I think we both came to the conclusion that the latter was the case. Yet, here we were, once again, in the same position that we’ve found ourselves in for the past four years, since the credit crisis of 2008.
The world waited with bated breath as Ben Bernanke took to the podium to announce a possible continuation of the twist, with respects to Chubby Checker.
This bond-buying program is intended to drive interest rates lower than their 220-year all-time low. On the other hand, Ben could have proposed buying mortgage backed securities and he also had the chance to talk about infusing Europe with a bundle of cash, since according to the President, everything is Europe’s fault.
I’m sure George W. Bush is glad to hear he’s finally been taken off the hook. Finally, he could have issued everyone a check for $100,000 to solve all our woes. After all, he is affectionately known as Helicopter Ben.
Regardless of his ultimate announcement, the initial reaction was “hallelujah, we’re saved.” Indeed, the Bernanke “moment” was much like the recent “moments” for Merkel, Draghi, Rajoy, or even Sarkozy. Yes, the expected “moment” was received as “risk on” and the markets showed their appreciation by moving higher.
Gold, silver, junk bonds, stocks, oil, and sovereign European debt all responded and ascended, for a while. In past trips to the podium, Ben’s positive affect on the financial markets was good for a few months, then a few weeks, and most recently, just a few days.
If the response to the recent Spanish bailout is any indication, the shelf life of Ben’s recent pronouncement may just be a few hours. Regardless, the mainstream media declared “brilliant,” “strategic,” and a “defining moment.” Reality, however, indicates the unavoidable march to decimation and ultimate contraction will resume in earnest.
So, with respects to Mr. Einstein, and following my leader’s cue, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
P.S. – This article was, in fact, written before Bernanke’s decision. The mainstream media was conspicuously absent and Ben’s shelf life turned out to be all of about 15 minutes, just the amount of time that fame endures, according to Andy Warhol. Sorry, Ben.