Bernanke-Savant Syndrome

Stocks are on the rise. Gold is on the rise. Bitcoin is on the rise. Everything is up…up…and, away!

The Dow has been on a tear this week, up 300+ points since Tuesday’s low. What’s causing the rally? Is the economy fixed? Have Bernanke’s magic money elixirs finally done their job? Or is collective delusion on the march once again?

Hmm…it’s hard for us mere mortals to tell. Of course, that’s a qualification that doesn’t apply to the world’s most powerful central banker. Ben Shalom Bernanke has been in the press all week, telling the world that the “benefits” of his policies outweigh the “costs and risks”…at least as they are “measured” at this exact moment.

Of course, we’ll never know the real costs or risks of the Fed Head’s ceaseless Bernaniggans. On the face of it, however, Reckoners are well aware that the Fed has been anything but shy when it comes to intervening in the markets. And what an intervention story it has been! Along the way, we’ve learned terms like “quantitative easing,” “ZIRP” and “Operation Twist,” all parts of the Fed’s open-ended, try-anything-once effort to “support the capital markets.”

Boy oh boy. It must really be something to be that smart. Mr. Bernanke says he knows exactly how much “additional liquidity” the market needs, and exactly how and when to deliver it. He knew last September, for example, that the market needed to be relieved of precisely $40 billion worth of mortgage debt per month. And in December, he knew that the asset purchasing program needed to be expanded to $85 billion per month. Exactly $85 billion.

Most of us don’t have the time, nor inclination, to even count to 85 billion, much less realize that’s the precise number of dollars’ worth of “assets” the Fed ought to buy every month. But Mr. Bernanke has it all figured out. It’s not $79 billion…nor is it $85 billion and ten cents.

Amazingly, Bernanke also knows exactly when to begin unwinding his various programs: when the unemployment rate falls below 6.5% (not 6.6% or 6.4%) and inflation projections remain no more than half a percentage point above 2% two years out.

Really, what could possible go wrong?

If Bernanke is right — and he’s pretty sure he is — he has outwitted the greatest minds of history. He has understood, in some kind of zen-like moment of clarity, no doubt, what no other man has ever been able to comprehend. Was it an epiphany, we wonder? Did he have some line of communication with the gods? Was he visited late one night, perhaps while toiling studiously over his modern economics theory books, by an archangel?

Whence came The Bernank’s omnipotence? When did this one man become, by way of some heavenly transfer of knowledge, Mr. Market incarnate?

Never mind all that. It’s not important how it all came about, only that, at least according to the generally accepted narrative of our time, it did come about. So you see, Fellow Reckoners. There’s no need to worry. Command Central will take it from here. As to exactly where they’ll take it…well, the world will find out soon enough.

Joel Bowman
for The Daily Reckoning