Monday, November 30, 2009

Mind Boggling - The Top Global Thinker ?!?!!?

From Michael Panzner, writing on The Big Picture comes a post he titled simply "Say What?":

"Foreign Policy has just published a list of its “top 100 global thinkers” and the winner is…
1. Ben Bernanke
for staving off a new Great Depression.
Chairman, Federal Reserve | Washington
The Zen-like chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve might not have topped the list solely for turning his superb academic career into a blueprint for action, for single-handedly reinventing the role of a central bank, or for preventing the collapse of the U.S. economy. But to have done all of these within the span of a few months is certainly one of the greatest intellectual feats of recent years. Not long ago a Princeton University professor writing paper after paper on the Great Depression, “Helicopter Ben” spent 2009 dropping hundreds of billions in bailouts seemingly from the skies, vigilantly tracking interest rates, and coordinating with counterparts across the globe. His key insight? The need for massive, damn-the-torpedoes intervention in financial markets. Winning over critics who have since praised his “radical” moves (including Nouriel Roubini, No. 4 on this list), he now faces an uphill battle in his bid for permanently expanded Fed powers. The radicalism is far from over.

For those who still ask "hey - what was Bernanke supposed to do?  Come on - the guy prevented another Great Depression."  The answer is simple:  Bernanke cannot and should not be exalted for his response to the crisis which HE failed to prevent. The accolade from Foreign Policy is mind boggling to me. To bring back an old analogy: it's like commending the captain of the Titanic for getting people out on lifeboats after he steered the ship into an iceberg.  If Bernanke were the top global thinker, he would have acknowledged the reality in the economy - the bubbles that were forming throughout the 2000-2007 years as a result of the free money policy enacted by the Fed.

Also make sure you read MISH's point by point response to Bernanke's op-ed this weekend defending the Fed's policies.

Finally, I assume most people have seen this video of Bernanke's past errors in evaluating our economic situation.  While it may be unfair to selectively cherry-pick each prediction Bernanke has made which has proven to be downright wrong, the point is that he is far from infallible, and that we shouldn't assume that he has the solution for our problems.



Onlooker said...

Yeah, this crap is just so endlessly aggravating. The economics that these arrogant SOBs practice is so flawed, it's unbelievable.

Some day, maybe, hopefully, it will be soundly and finally discredited. But I'm not optimistic as it is favored politically because it just props up the moneyed interests, enabling their thievery, and justifies endless spending by politicians.

Onlooker said...

Hey Kid, this article was actually written by Tim Iacono, just for the record.

Kid Dynamite said...

I was just looking at the byline on Ritholtz's blog that said Panzner. Where did you get Iacono from?

Onlooker said...

Oops, my bad. I looked at the wrong article! Sorry (he said embarrassedly)