The US Central Planner Is an Idiot
Bernanke Channels Benchley
by Gary North
Ben Bernanke gave his second-ever press conference on June 22.
Before I offer my assessment, I think it is wise to make you aware of a long-forgotten film: a 1931 movie short by Robert Benchley, one of the supreme humorists of his era. Benchley came on-screen as an economist. He provided information on why the economy was about to turn around. (It wasn’t.) The depression was over. (It wasn’t.) The recovery was just around the corner. (It wasn’t.) Then he offered the appropriate evidence. The people in the theaters fully understood. Once you see this video, so will you. Professor Bernanke will never seem quite the same.
As soon as Bernanke’s press conference was over, the Dow fell 80 points. Asian stocks fell. European stocks fell. He isn’t as funny as Benchley.
There was no published transcript, but his remarks did not vary much from the press release issued by the Federal Open Market Committee, which had been meeting for two days. What was significant was this: he felt compelled to hold a press conference, yet he had nothing to say beyond what the FOMC’s press release said. Why? I think it was because he wanted to be there in person to calm the members of the press, because the FOMC’s words were not cheery.