Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bernanke Grilled At Townhall in Kansas

Bernanke spent an hour or more (shown as part of the Lehrer NewsHour on PBS) the other day being grilled at a townhall meeting by ordinary men and women, many of whom were small business owners.

RealClearPolitics has posted a PBS link to the transcript. I watched the show and the transcript will make for interesting reading.
"The nonpartisan organization Kansas City Consensus helped us identify and select them. Those who will ask questions are sitting there in the center section directly in front of Chairman Bernanke and me. They have been pre-interviewed by NewsHour staff members about what they have on their mind to ask the chairman.
During the entire period the "deer in the headlights" look never left his face. He was made visibly uncomfortable particularly by a plastics distributor who asked a pressing question about why businesses like AIG, et al got bailed out, i.e. why they are "too big to fail" but his business can go under.

The Fed Chairman's answer was the usual "We had no choice. If we hadn't the entire system would have failed." etc. His recommendation, after whining about "not having the tools to prevent Lehman from going under" was to suggest "we need more laws, a structure that allows us to blah, blah, blah."

It's always a little shocking to see a man who has taught at Princeton be so stupid. What remains a mystery is why men of intelligence like Bernanke absorb and accept the blatant nonsense that a healthy-minded college freshman could poke big holes through without effort.

At some point, such men choose simply to break with reality and accept the dogma they're taught. But why they do will probably remain unknown for some time to come. In the meantime, men such as this have their hands on the coercive levers of the financial sector at the heart of the economy. "Worrisome" doesn't quite capture it.

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