I wish I were kidding, but I’m not — that’s ZIRP and Operation Twist. Cheap borrowing is how our federal government has managed to operate at all these last five or six years, and it’s how the Fed has tried to juice the economy in the private sector. Keep housing, commodities, and equities expensive, but keep borrowing cheap. The solution to a giant debt bubble is another giant debt bubble.
We tried something similar back in the Great Depression, when every Smart Mind in the Country™ was utterly convinced that the cure for spreading poverty was to make everything more expensive. And again I wish I were kidding, but I’m not — that’s why FDR allowed labor unions to run wild, and why he had perfectly good food and farmland destroyed. The result: what should have been a temporary dislocation of a stock-market crash was turned into a lost decade of bread lines, needless labor strikes, dust bowls, and general human suffering.
Bernanke earned his chops as a so-called expert on the Great Depression. But here he is, repeating nearly the very same mistakes as FDR. And those younger & poorer folks who are caught in the squeeze of high prices and unobtainable debt? Bernanke’s policies are explicitly rigged against them, because they don’t (and now probably can’t) ever own enough assets to benefit from the Fed’s long-promised wealth effects. And Obama? He already got their low-information votes — twice — so he is unmoved by seeing them immolated to the Gods of Goldman-Sachs.
It makes amazing economic sense.