Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bernanke's competence on subprime crisis brought into question

After all, nothing will bring into question your competence on an issue than for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to say you "get it." (See Fed ‘Gets It’ on Mortgage Crisis, Senator Dodd Says.)

I'm all for addressing liquidity crises, but there is a very fine line right now between holding off a wider, preventable systemic crisis, and repeating the Fed's past mistakes regarding moral hazards and banking bailouts. (Which, in my opinion, include pretty much every Fed banking crisis intervention in the past.)

Just as an example, has there ever been a more blatant case of begging for corporate welfare than Jim Cramer's beserk attack on Bernanke two weeks ago? (Watch here or here if you're interested).
"Bernanke is being an academic!... [William Poole, St. Louis Fed President] has no idea what its like out there--None! They know nothing! The Fed is asleep! My people have been in this game for 25 years ! They are losing their jobs and these firms are going out business!... This is a different kinda market!"

First, never trust anyone who says this is a different kind of market. For 400 years, it's been the same kind of market.

Second, why should we care if you are losing your jobs over your poor investment decisions? (Some people, particularly those betting against you, have been making a lot of money.)

I could be wrong, but given Congress' involvement in previous market-related matters, I can't help but suspect that Chris Dodd is just a slightly more calm version of Jim Cramer (particularly given the number of hedge funds operating out of Connecticut).

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