Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke held a press conference for financial reporters:
Could more stimulus be on the way?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke certainly left the option on the table Wednesday, making perfectly clear that he stands ready to do more should the U.S. economy take a turn for the worse.
“In case things get worse, we are prepared to protect the U.S. economy and financial system,” Bernanke told reporters at a press conference.
It was a point he reiterated several times and a sign that many outsiders took to mean the Fed has left the door open on a third round of asset purchases known as quantitative easing, or QE.
“Mr. Bernanke’s press conference surely left few doubts that the Fed will take more aggressive action and renew QE if the economy fails to perform as they expect,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said in a note to clients.
Meanwhile, University of Pennsylvania Economist Justin Wolfers tweeted: “I read the Fed as saying: One more bad jobs report, and we’ll do more.”
So Ben’s going to go back to the printing press if we have one more disappointing jobs report. He’s going to initiate another round of quantitative easing (QE), which is basically creating money out of thin air. It will be yet another round of quasi-stimulus spending which is basically trying to throw more money at the economy, hoping and praying that it does something. The best name for this kind of economic thinking is “print and pray” economics.
In the last couple web ads produced by his campaign, Gov. Gary Johnson has covered his fiscal record and his anti-war stance. But in his new ad, his team makes a very clear appeal to Ron Paul supporters by noting that he’ll continue to wave the banner of auditing the Federal Reserve, making the nation’s central bank more transparent for Americans:
After a watered down version of the bill passed in 2010 as part of the financial reform bill, according to Campaign for Liberty, House Republicans leaders plan to bring Rep. Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed legislation, H.R.459, to the floor for a vote in July:
Thanks to all the hard work of C4L’s dedicated activists, we’ve just received word that H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act will receive a vote in the House this July!
Audit the Fed recently passed a cosponsor milestone with more than half the House of Representatives now publicly supporting the bill.
With hundreds of thousands of petitions, emails, faxes, and phone calls pouring into Congressional offices from around the country, now is the time for Audit the Fed to become law of the land!
Please continue to support our efforts as we double down on the pressure on the House and Senate!
We’ve come a long way since C4L made Audit the Fed our top legislative priority in 2009, and the limited audit passed last Congress has only strengthened our resolve for complete transparency at the Federal Reserve.
According to GovTrack, there are 227 co-sponsors of the bill, which would require an audit of the Federal Reserve to be completed by the end of 2012. This would allow Congress, through the Government Accountability Office, to see the thought process behind certain decisions, such as keep interest rates artificially low, and loans.
At the G8 summit at Camp David this weekend, the leaders issued a statement calling for more growth (ie. more government spending) instead of austerity.
CAMP DAVID, Md. — Leaders of the world’s richest countries banded together on Saturday to press Germany to back more pro-growth policies to halt the deepening debt crisis in Europe, as President Obama for the first time gained widespread support for his argument that Europe, and the United States by extension, cannot afford Chancellor Angela Merkel’s one-size-fits-all approach emphasizing austerity.
Pointedly recognizing “that the right measures are not the same for each of us,” the leaders of the Group of 8 nations, at a meeting hosted by Mr. Obama at Camp David, committed to “take all necessary steps” to strengthen their economies. They said they wanted to keep Greece in the euro zone and vowed to work to promote growth in Europe, though behind the scenes distinct differences remained over what kinds of stimulus policies to pursue.
“Our imperative,” the leaders said in their statement, “is to promote growth and jobs.”
This Saturday, April 21st, CampusReform.org will host a webinar with Dr. Tom Woods, an economist from the Ludwing vo Mises Institute. The subject of the webinar will be “The Federal Reserve in the Financial Crisis.”
The event will be live-streamed beginning at 12:30 on Saturday from CampusReform.org and is sure to be one of interest, thanks to Rep. Ron Paul pushing the Audit the Fed bill in recent years and making the Federal Reserve a prominent part of his presidential campaigns.
Over the weekend, some friends asked my opinion possibilities of an alliance between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, so I thought I’d take the time to detail my thoughts on that idea.
First, it’s not Paul’s goal to help Mitt Romney. His plan is to win the nomination at a brokered convention in Tampa by having the most delegates on the floor of the convention. Any rumored alliance of Paul to Romney assumes Paul doesn’t win the nomination at convention or that Romney wins the nomination outright before convention. Maybe this won’t matter in the end, but it’s worth mentioning that Paul’s goal is not to be Romney’s sidekick.
The next thought I have about this possible alliance is that Paul would have to concede too much, and he’s not much for compromises. Paul’s message, save his stance on foreign policy, resonates well with most Republican voters. Lower taxes, reduce spending, balance the budget…these are all items that will be on Romney’s checklist anyway, so Romney shouldn’t have to concede too much on those points. He would have to get very specific about his plan; vague promises won’t sit well with Dr. Paul.
My bet is that Paul would have to give in on foreign policy – or, at the very least, agree to keep quiet about it. Maybe he can do that as long as the movement to war comes from the legislature instead of the executive branch (like it’s supposed to). That might be enough for Romney, but, like I said, Paul isn’t known for his willingness to compromise.
(The interesting piece to that thought is that if we have a sound fiscal policy, continuing our current foreign policy would be all but impossible. How many people do you know that would support a huge tax hike to fund ongoing war efforts?)
Why would Paul, who is nothing if he’s not consistent, agree to some sort of alliance with Romney if Romney wins the nomination? Here are a few possibilities:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke visited Capitol Hill yesterday for a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. Much of what he had to say was familiar. Bernanke repeated what most of us already know, that the United States is headed for severe debt problems if Congress doesn’t take on the river of red ink flowing from Washington.
But Bernanke and the Fed haven’t really taken responsibility for their continued role in the country’s fiscal problems, a point that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who took time out of his campaign schedule to appear at the hearing, hammered home yesterday.
Paul didn’t really mince words in his questioning of Bernanke. At one point, he held up a silver coin, noting that the decline of the dollar has pushed silver higher. Paul explained that a troy ounce of the precious metal can purchase 11 gallons of gas today, whereas it could only buy four gallons in 2006.
In case you missed it, Ron Paul appear on The Tonight Show on Friday evening. Paul was joined by Joe Rogan, a former television host and avid supporter. This is by far one of the best appearances I’ve seen from Paul, who spoke very passionately — but focused — about economics and the Federal Reserve, among other issues.
As you have likely heard, the Federal Reserve, in coordination with other central banks around the globe, injected cash into world markets to ensure that credit remains available to European countries in need of cash:
The central banks of the wealthiest countries, trying to prevent a debt crisis in Europe from exploding into a global panic, swept in Wednesday to shore up the world financial system by making it easier for banks to borrow American dollars.
Stock markets around the world roared their approval. The Dow Jones industrial average rose almost 500 points, its best day in two and a half years. Stocks climbed 5 percent in Germany and more than 4 percent in France.
Central banks will make it cheaper for commercial banks in their countries to borrow dollars, the dominant currency of trade. It was the most extraordinary coordinated effort by the central banks since they cut interest rates together in October 2008, at the depths of the financial crisis.
“The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity,” the central banks said in a joint statement.
China, which has the largest economy in the world after the European Union and the United States, reduced the amount of money its banks are required to hold in reserve, another attempt to free up cash for lending.
The display of worldwide coordination was meant to restore confidence in the global financial system and to demonstrate that central banks will do what they can to prevent a repeat of 2008.
Admittedly, I don’t listen to much talk radio anymore. Even the talk show hosts that I generally agree with drive me up a wall. But I happened to catch part of Neal Boortz’s interview with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who has seen his support rise in his second bid as a Republican, during my lunch hour yesterday. This is significant because Boortz, a self-proclaimed libertarian who supports a very hawkish foreign policy, has been critical of Paul whenever possible.
Maybe I’ve been too hard on Boortz because, to my surprise, he hosted a very well-rounded, fair interview with Paul, discussing everything from foreign policy to the Fed to the media and Barack Obama to the European financial crisis. Perhaps even one of the best that I’ve heard with any candidate. Check it out below: