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Ben Bernanke
  • Federal Reserve = Comedy Gold

    Earlier today, we got a glimpse at the 2007 transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee meetings. As always, the transcripts are replete with "[LAUGHTER]" tags to indicate when the world's most important economic actors broke into giggles while discussing the fate of the global marketplace.

    Let's see if Ben Bernanke told any 'Yo Mama' jokes, shall we?

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    Tags: Ben Bernanke, Economy, Federal Reserve, Timothy Geithner
  • 16 Things Not Found in Ron Paul's Response to the Fed

    Ron Paul

    The Federal Reserve has announced that it will increase efforts to (in technical terms) make America's money stuff good. In typically spry fashion, Texas congressman and grizzled person Ron Paul is seizing the opportunity to clarify what he thinks of that organization.

    His language, though, is surprisingly restrained (for him). Here's a list of 16 words/phrases/treatises not found in his response…

    1. "End the Fed."

    2. "Audit the Fed."

    3. "Hey everybody, let's go burn down the Fed."

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    Tags: Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve, Ron Paul
  • What the Fed Could Be Spending $40 Billion a Month On

    Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said today in a news conference that the Fed would be will spending $40 billion a month on mortgage-backed securities. $40 billion! A month! Every month until it decides it doesn't want to anymore.

    Now, I'm not an economist, but I gathered from the sound of everybody in the conference room's jaws hitting the floor at the same time that this decision is somewhat… aggressive? Maybe. Crazy is maybe closer to what I'm trying to get at. (Pay no attention to the national election two months away behind the curtain!)

    Anyway, just to put $40 billion a month into some perspective, here's what the Fed could be purchasing instead of mortgage-backed securities…

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    Tags: Ben Bernanke, Economy, Federal Reserve, Money
  • Tweet Untweet: The Wrath of Paul

    Tags: Ben Bernanke, Ron Paul, Tweet Untweet, Twitter
  • David Vitter Opposes Inflation, Unless It's in His Pants

    David VitterThe Federal Reserve, the body responsible for macroeconomic stabilization and Ron Paul's nightmares, is governed by a dual mandate: the maintenance of price stability and promotion of full employment. Since the economy is currently producing fewer goods and services than it's capable of, Chairman Ben Bernanke and other members of the  Federal Reserve Open Market Committee have been engaging in expansionary monetary policy — though not aggressively enough, according to many economists — to boost nominal GDP and employment.

    The downside of activist monetary policy is inflation. Though it's negligible now — the Consumer Price Index  rose just 0.3 percent in March — Federal reserve policy can eventually increase the price of everything from house rentals to hooker rentals. Which I presume is where Senator, confirmed john and alleged diaper fetishist David Vitter comes in, with a hold on Barack Obama's two nominees to the Federal Reserve Board…

    Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) has effectively blocked Senate confirmation of the nominees, Harvard University economics professor Jeremy Stein and former private-equity executive Jerome Powell. Wall Street firms have been quietly pressing Mr. Vitter to drop his objections, an aide to the senator said.

    Senate leaders aren't expected to bring the nominees to the floor for debate, a potentially lengthy process unlikely to be welcomed by either party in an election year. The Senate generally confirms nominees through the faster process of unanimous consent. Unless Mr. Vitter changes his mind, the two Fed nominations are unlikely to advance.

    Political Science research suggests election results are influenced in great measure by macroeconomic performance, so it's little wonder an Obama critic like Vitter would want to stave off a recovery. More than anyone else in the Senate, he has a keen understanding of "swing" voters.

    As for the Democrats' ability to break the logjam, options for Harry Reid are limited. He can force the Republicans to engage in a full-scale filibuster, but Democrats are unlikely to corral the 60 votes needed for cloture. And even if Reid forced to Vitter to actually hold the floor in a marathon session without sleep or bathroom breaks, something that rarely happens in today's Senate, the outlook for Democrats remains grim. Though Vitter is well below the Senate's median age, he's one politician guaranteed to know how to put Depends to good use.

    Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Ben Bernanke, David Vitter, Federal Reserve, Senate, Unemployment