In response to Bernanke Says Economic Outlook is “Unusually Uncertain”, Fed Prepared for “Actions as Needed” I received this comment from “Economics Teacher“.

ET Writes…

Ben is forecasting uncertainty and saying the Fed’s prepared for action as needed. Did Uncle Ben strain his cerebrum coming up with that one (forecasting uncertainty)?

I suppose there’s a difference between “unusually uncertain” and “typically uncertain.” Either way it comes out this way – Ben doesn’t know squat!

Is “Uncertain” an Improvement?

Bernanke was pretty certain there would not be a recession, that housing was not in a bubble, that the unemployment rate would peak at 8.5%, that paying interest on reserves would enable the Fed to hold short-term rates above 2%.

Bernanke was wrong on every count. At least now he admits he is guessing.

Let’s recap the Fed Uncertainty Principle to see what it suggests may be certain or uncertain.

Fed Uncertainty Principle:
The fed, by its very existence, has completely distorted the market via self reinforcing observer/participant feedback loops. Thus, it is fatally flawed logic to suggest the Fed is simply following the market, therefore the market is to blame for the Fed’s actions. There would not be a Fed in a free market, and by implication there would not be observer/participant feedback loops either.

Corollary Number One: The Fed has no idea where interest rates should be. Only a free market does. The Fed will be disingenuous about what it knows (nothing of use) and doesn’t know (much more than it wants to admit), particularly in times of economic stress.

Corollary Number Two: The government/quasi-government body most responsible for creating this mess (the Fed), will attempt a big power grab, purportedly to fix whatever problems it creates. The bigger the mess it creates, the more power it will attempt to grab. Over time this leads to dangerously concentrated power into the hands of those who have already proven they do not know what they are doing.

Corollary Number Three: Don’t expect the Fed to learn from past mistakes. Instead, expect the Fed to repeat them with bigger and bigger doses of exactly what created the initial problem.

Corollary Number Four: The Fed simply does not care whether its actions are illegal or not. The Fed is operating under the principle that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. And forgiveness is just another means to the desired power grab it is seeking.

That was written on April 03, 2008. Many of the Corollaries have played out time and time again.

Things to be Certain About

When Bernanke says he is prepared to take action “as needed”, you can be certain of it.

Moreover, you can be pretty certain that he is about to take action soon, whether action is needed or not. The pertinent question is “What Action?”

On that, we cannot be certain. However, we can be certain that one or more of corollaries two, three, and four will be in play.

Finally, we can also be certain that whatever Bernanke tries will ultimately be a failure given Bernanke’s Deflation Preventing Scorecard is a perfect zero.

Hopefully this clarifies things you can and cannot be certain about, even if Bernanke himself is “Unusually Uncertain”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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