I was struggling today. Struggling to maintain a stoic demeanor in the hot visceral rush of anticipation. I imagine you will feel similarly upon learning that The Bernanke (Shalom) will release his self-congratulatory memoir The Courage to Act in October.
“What form did this monetary valor take?” you may dimly wonder as fingertips caress the Amazon bookstore checkout keys. Well let’s hear it from the beard itself circa 2008.
Congressmen, I will dispense in remarks today with our customary delphic pronouncements and speak with candor. Owing primarily to the rapidly deflating housing bubble that I saw but did not comprehend, banking industry balance sheets are presently soiled with trillions of dollars in underwater mortgage-backed securities that will never be repaid.
As you likely don’t realize, practically every large institution is capitalized at ratios below 10 percent, some large investment houses at less than half that. Thus with asset impairments exceeding this figure many industry pillars are functionally now insolvent. We believe their simultaneous and collective collapse could result in a cascade effect potentially resulting in a depression of greater sustained severity than the country has ever suffered. Thus we propose to print a, frankly, breathtaking amount of money and deploy it in the repurchase of these troubled assets. This resulting in the recapitalization of institutions deemed sufficiently critical to warrant our attention. The program will not be made available to smaller market participants.
Congress is advised that this action is tantamount to a substantial tax on the public. This as currency may be conjured from the ether, but wealth may not. And as such, it will represent an unprecedented transfer of wealth from dollar holders to financial industry shareholders. The tax will be broad, though falling sharpest upon the middle class. On savers, on CD holders, and on grocery shoppers. People who have and earn their own money, though who do not hold significant capital investments in the resuscitated institutions.
The proceeds of this tax will accrue to an admittedly much wealthier cohort of investors and executives who will enjoy a retroactive shelter from the results of demonstrably poor investment and underwriting decisions. And while Congress may find such a program politically unpalatable given those considerations, we feel it is necessary to forestall far more malign repercussions likely to occur in its absence. Though ultimately the choice is yours as the people’s representation. We stand ready to execute your guidance.
Whether one concurs with his actions or not, there must be some concession offered to the unusual clarity of their articulation. So kudos for that Benny and the Debts (Benny!). But, well, that quoted passage above actually wasn’t what he said at all was it? Rather it’s precisely what I said in announcing the QE program. Though there were comparatively fewer media microphones present to capture the statement. Bernanke, in contrast, muttered some cabalistic drivel rationalizing his fait accompli. Though perhaps he’ll provide more insight in the memoir.
And while THE ECONOMY certainly appreciated his tender embrocating, some of us made-whole multi-millionaires might be tempted to a little good-natured ribbing about the whole enterprise. To these people I’d caution not to extend the conviviality one millimeter past ADL headquarters. Because when it comes to criticism of those like Bernanke, if one participle dangles over the line it’s ANTI-SEMITISM. And that just might be an international crime. So unless you’re prepared for life as a bigot at large, I’d counsel heeding the article below.
Attorney Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada and a legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry wants antisemitism to be treated as an international crime. In a new Israeli initiative, Baker is proposing that international courts be used to combat global hate crimes against Jews.
Baker has drafted an international convention calling on the “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Antisemitism.” The Convention, which is drafted in the manner of classical international anti-terrorism treaties and those for other crimes, will allow countries to cooperate and exchange information with others, in order to extradite those suspected of acts that meet the definition of antisemitism, Israel’s NRG reported in Wednesday.
So provided you’re not referring to Sammy Davis Junior, saying ****** shall remain merely a state felony. That’s a relief. Though before being extradited to the Holot detention center with my Sudanese brothers, what exactly will be the contours of global enforcement? Perhaps a roving tribunal where Abe, Heidi, and Potok traverse the country in a Shomrim van issuing citations before proceeding in a billow of hypocrisy and pork rinds.
“We need to set down clear rules on what constitutes antisemitism and to set up international codes to prevent it. We expect that the initiative will be thoroughly discussed among all entities and countries that are engaging antisemitism on a global scale,” said Baker.
Oh, I see. Well clear rules for imprisoning critics is certainly more fair than capricious verdicts.
Explaining the need for the Convention, Baker noted that, “everyone knows to condemn antisemitism, but they are not doing what is necessary in order to fight against it on an international legal level.” He added that, “on the other hand, international courts invite people from around the world to account for various crimes. We think that this is precisely the place to also work decisively and unambiguously against antisemitism.”
Baker said that, “if the world really wants to work against this terrible phenomenon, the time has come to line up behind the measures that are necessary to be employed against it.”
Of all the world’s terrible phenomena it’s difficult to think of one Jews would be more inclined to combat. And so as I reflect on the prospect of 8-12 in Leavenworth, I’d like to revise my opinion of Mr. Bernanke’s performance…
Heckuva job Bennie!