It’s not my fault, says Bernanke

Well, actually, yes it is. The economic establishment is floundering, trying to work out what went wrong. They are, I’m afraid, clueless in their Keynesian beliefs. This is from The Oz: Ben Bernanke: ‘Lack of stimulus to blame for rates’. But before we turn further to Dr Bernanke, let me just draw your attention to a recent article about the success of the “austerity” program in the UK, written by Niall Ferguson:

Long before the United Kingdom’s recent general election, which the Conservatives won by a margin that stunned their critics, the facts about the country’s economic performance had indeed changed. Yet there is no sign of today’s Keynesians changing their minds.

With these thoughts in mind, let us turn to the views of the previous Chairman of the Fed.

The most influential central banker in a generation, who guided the global economy through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, has pinned the blame on governments for the ultra-low interest rates that are playing havoc with exchange rates, asset prices and incomes around the world.

In sweeping and optimistic ­remarks about the economy, made in Sydney yesterday, former US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said central banks had been compelled to slash interest rate to unprecedented low levels because governments had dragged their feet in providing essenti­al stimulus measures.

This is all after-the-fact. Now that they are actually witnessing the wreckage that has befallen the world’s economies, and in particular the United States, they are looking for reasons why their policies didn’t bring the recovery they said it would. Bernanke, like Krugman, are mystified. They really have no idea why things have unfolded as they have. Bernanke who made such a fetish of having done so much scholarly work on the Great Depression to work out what to do this time round, finds that whatever he thought he knew, whatever it was he did, that the sum total of their efforts have been a disaster.

I have been teaching the devastating consequences of low interest rates since the start of the GFC. All in the second edition if you are interested. But any economist who believes that an economy can be resurrected from the demand side is a danger to any economy they provide advice to. So here is Bernanke’s latest prediction:

“Some slowing in China is both inevitable and probably ­desirable … (but) a hard landing is not a high probability at all,” he said

Given his track record, if that doesn’t make you worry, I don’t know what would.

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