DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE
Anyhow, Paul questioned Bernanke on the so-called, "Working Group on Financial Markets," or as the rest of us call it, the "Plunge Protection Team." Paul also asked him about inflation, economic growth, and monetary & fiscal policy. The transcript is very short and worth checking out. A few highlights (H/T: Daily Reckoning):
On the Plunge Protection Team:
(Emphasis added). On inflation, economic growth, and real wages:
MR. PAUL: . . . but back to the issue of the meeting. You tell me it meets irregularly, but there are minutes kept, or are there reports made on this group?
MR. BERNANKE: I believe there are records kept by the staff. These are staff mostly from Treasury, but also from the other agencies.
MR. PAUL: And they would be available to us in the committee?
MR. BERNANKE: I don’t know. I am sorry, I don’t know.
(Emphasis added). The import of this? Bernanke knows inflation is caused by an increase in the supply of money & credit. Yet the government churns out a constant flow of bullshit numbers -- PPI, CPI, Core CPI -- that mean nothing, that are fudged from the get-go. Bernanke knows the so-called Plunge Protection Team manipulates markets, thereby causing inflation, but pretends he's not sure what they do, nor knows if the meeting minutes are available.
MR. PAUL: [A member of the Federal Reserve Board] expressed a relief that the economy was weakening, mainly – inferring that the weakening economy would help contain inflation . . . If this assumption is correct – would you agree that this assumption – that a weaker economy is helpful when you are worried about inflation?
MR. BERNANKE: . . . we need to go to a sustainable pace. We need to have a pace which matches the underlying productive capacity; that will probably be a bit less robust than the last few years, because over the last few years we were also reemploying underutilized resources, and going forward we don’t have that slack to put to work.
MR. PAUL: But if you accept the principle, as it seemed to be in this quote, that if you are worried about inflation, you slow up the economy, and then inflation is brought down, it is lessened, it infers that inflation is caused by economic growth, and I don’t happen to accept that, because most people accept the fact that inflation is really a monetary phenomenon. And it also introduces the notion that growth is bad, and yet I see growth as good. Whether it is 3 or 4 or 5 or 6, if you don’t have monetary inflation, we don’t need to worry, because if you have good growth in the marketplace rather than artificial growth, that it is this growth that causes your productivity to increase. You have an increase in productivity, and it does help bring prices down, but it doesn’t deal with inflation . . . There is a lot of concern about real wages versus nominal wages, but I think it is a characteristic of an economy that is based on fiat currency that is just losing its value that it is inevitable that the real labor goes down. As a matter of fact, Keynes . . . believed that you could get real wages down by inflation, that the nominal wage doesn’t come on and keep the nominal wage up, have the real wage come down and sort of deceive the working man.
MR. BERNANKE: Congressman, I agree with you. Growth doesn’t cause inflation; what causes inflation is monetary conditions or financial conditions that stimulate spending which grows more quickly that the underlying capacity of the economy to produce. Anything that increases the economy to produce, be it greater productivity, greater workforce, other factors that are productive, is only positive. It reduces inflation.
And finally, Bernanke knows more than anyone that these manipulations, these short-term tweaks of the economy, can have an enormous influence on folks' sense of their own well-being coming November.
When you hear, in October, that "inflation's down," or that "growth is up," or that "real wages have gone up," not to mention any number of reports on housing, on employment: Do Not Believe Them.
Believe what you know to be true. Ask yourself about your wages, your expenses, your savings, your debt, your housing costs, your fuel costs.
And then vote accordingly.