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Great Depression Online Archive Issue:

Hell Bent on Giving It Good and Hard

Great Depression Online
Long Beach, CA
August 27, 2010

Inside This Issue You Will Discover…

*** This Is Insane
*** Making a Great Mess of Things
*** Hell Bent on Giving It Good and Hard
*** And More

This Is Insane

Every quack and con has crawled out of the woodwork to offer their solution for what seems to be ailing the economy these days.  The illness, they believe, is there’s not enough money. 

For example, Charles Hugh Smith of DailyFinance wants to “call in the helicopters” to drop “money into household bank accounts.”  And Martin Sosnoff over at Forbes says “we need Bernanke to panic, take his hands out of his pockets and rally the market with a huge shot of quantitative easing.”

While Smith must be a total imbecile and Sosnoff must be a total moron…Bernanke, no doubt, is a total madman.  He’s put into practice new “tools” of monetary policy that are utterly crazy.  In fact, at the August 10, 2010, Federal Reserve meeting it became obvious no one really quite knows just how they work…

“Before the meeting, officials at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which manages the Fed’s portfolio, had grown concerned, according to people familiar with the matter,” reported the Wall Street Journal.  “The Fed’s portfolio of mortgage-backed securities was about to begin shrinking much more rapidly than anticipated, as low mortgage rates led more Americans to refinance their mortgages.  That in turn meant the mortgage-backed securities held by the Fed were being paid off.

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“The size of the Fed’s portfolio has become one of the central bank’s major monetary tools.  A shrinking portfolio in the face of slowing economic growth was unwelcome to many officials.

“The declining mortgage portfolio was the focal point of debate.  The Fed could allow it to continue going down or it could try to keep it stable by putting the money from maturing mortgage bonds into new securities, either Treasurys or other mortgage bonds.”

Got that?  For the first 95 years of the Federal Reserve the Fed never had a mortgage portfolio.  But that all changed in 2008 when Bernanke traded perfectly good Federal Reserve notes for toxic mortgage backed securities.  Now, with Bernanke’s new “tools” of monetary policy, a bunch of up lifters must come together once a month to contemplate how to properly intervene in capital markets.  This is insane.

Nonetheless, it’s not the first time some government madman’s led an entire nation to ruin with a misguided attempt to ‘fix’ it.

Making a Great Mess of Things

Sometime in early 1848 French poet Alphonse de Lamartine had a change of appetite.  For whatever reason, he no longer took to gobbling up frog legs but to gobbling up the new, forward thinking, ideas of the day. 

It all seemed so interesting, exciting, and enlightening at first.  Yet the more he indulged, the more he went mad.

It was as if Lamartine had been bitten by a rabinous dog.  And in a sense he had been.  The rabinous dog being not that of a French poodle…but that of the gospel of Karl Marx.

This was little cause for alarm to most.  For all Frenchmen seemed to be foaming at the mouth at the time.  Again, for the second time in 50-years, they’d gone a little crazy and heaved their leaders into a ditch. 

Both times an economic backslide provoked the hubbub.  Moreover, both times the makings of man made a great mess of things. 

Hell Bent on Giving It Good and Hard

With King Louis Philippe thrown out on his backside Lamartine and a bunch of provisional government no-it-alls began ruling the land.  They laid down diktats and decrees of Marx to punish the evil rich, abolish poverty, and spread the wealth to those who didn’t earn it. 

Yet to their disbelief and dismay the delusional visions of Marx didn’t bring about the Garden of Eden.  Instead they brought about the hell of redistributed poverty.

Another Frenchman, this one named Frederic Bastiat, captured the folly of the experiment with commonsense and wisdom…

“Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times.  It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic.  Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen free and inoffensive use of faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement.  Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.”

In the end, our tragic antagonist Lamartine got just what he deserved.  He lived out his golden years in poverty, on the French Government dole, basking in the glories of redistributed poverty.

At least with Lamartine, even though he was picking their pocket, the people generally knew what he was up to.

On the other hand, who knows what Bernanke’s got in his bag of tricks?  But, regardless, he’s hell bent on giving it to us good and hard.


M.N. Gordon
Great Depression Online

P.S.  Social Security is now paying out more than it takes in.  In other words, it’s going broke.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the retirement you deserve.  In fact, there’s a little known Government backed “pension program” that a small group of savvy investors have been collecting from since 1972.

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