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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Spiegel: The Madness of Ben Bernanke
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spiegel: The Madness of Ben Bernanke

as usual, you have to read the foreign press to get any semblance of truth about what's happening in our own country... (and ya gotta love spiegel's headline...)
The dollar is in a tailspin, the trade deficit is growing and a recession is on the horizon. The American way of life is in serious danger. But the head of the Federal Reserve keeps on pumping easy credit into the system -- a crazy policy that will worsen the crisis.

Ben Bernanke at the G7 meeting
of central bank governors over
the weekend.

Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have more in common with the big cat entertainers Siegfried & Roy than any of us can be comfortable with.

The Las Vegas magicians call themselves "Masters of the Impossible" and have been fascinating audiences for decades by getting snow-white tigers to leap through burning rings.

The legendary Federal Reserve Chairman and his successor were equally adept at fascinating their audiences -- with a policy of miraculous monetary growth that gave America one of the longest periods of economic expansion in modern times. Many saw them as "Masters of the Universe." It seemed as if the central bankers had tamed predatory capitalism with their constant interest rate cuts.


The credit-financed consumer boom of recent years is coming to a painful end. Today's American Way of Life has no chance of surviving the coming years undamaged. The virus will continue to ravage its way through the financial system.

The property crisis is likely to spread to credit card providers soon and will then probably infect car manufacturers, furniture makers and all the other firms that owe their sales increases to the growth in credit finance. "The virus will keep on infecting the system," one management board member from a large bank said, requesting anonymity in return for the candour of his analysis.

His argument is that banks that grant mortgages to home buyers virtually unable to pay their bills are unlikely to be especially scrutinizing when it comes to lending cash to the buyers of fridges, cars and furniture. Indeed, a furniture store in Miami recently tried to lure consumers with the following offer: buy now, pay your first credit installment in three years, and no need for a down-payment.

The credit-financed way of life is typical of the US these days. Many people resort to credit to plug the gap between the lifestyle they have become accustomed to and their declining wages.

The borrowed cash is like an anaesthetic against the painful impact of globalisation. Private household debt has been growing by $4 billion each business day for years.

yeah, well, ok, but what spiegel fails to point out is that the financial and credit markets ain't going to hell just in the u.s... it's all well and good to point a finger at the unbelievable mess that the so-called "leaders" of the u.s. corporatocracy have created, but that conveniently ignores the complicity of europe, japan, australia, and the rest of the industrialized world... today's globally-interconnected financial markets have all been operating on an ethos of unrestrained greed and the collapse is happening world-wide, not just in the u.s., even though the u.s. has certainly been a leading role model...

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