Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was a guest on ’60 Minutes’ this evening and the National Inflation Association felt it was important to address Bernanke’s comments.
Bernanke claims to be concerned primarily about two things: unemployment and deflation. Bernanke says between the economic peak and the end of last year, 8.5 million jobs in America were lost with only 1 million jobs being regained since then. He says it could take 4 to 5 years for the U.S. to get back to a “more normal unemployment rate of 5% or 6%”.
The truth is, real unemployment in the U.S. today once you account for everybody who has given up looking for work as well as everybody who is underemployed, is already about 22%. NIA believes it is more likely that in 4 to 5 years from now, U.S. unemployment will rise to Great Depression levels. Bernanke’s policy of printing money and creating inflation will not create jobs because the money the Fed creates is going to fund non-productive and wasteful U.S. government spending. The only jobs being created are artificial government jobs.
U.S. government spending is up 108% from 10 years ago. We have a U.S. government spending bubble that will eventually go bust by the U.S. dollar becoming worthless and the U.S. government no longer being able to meet its obligations. Bernanke says we should only be concerned about the long-term deficit because in “10, 15, or 20 years from now the entire budget will be spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest payments on the debt” and “there will be no money left for the military or other services the government provides.”
The truth is, the U.S. currently has a budget deficit from just Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security alone and even if the U.S. got rid of all government spending besides Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, it wouldn’t be enough to balance the budget (including changes in our unfunded liabilities). Countries usually see hyperinflation of their currencies once interest payments on their national debt reach about 50% of tax receipts, and the U.S. is at risk of seeing interest payments on its debt reach 50% of tax receipts in the middle of this decade. In other words, the U.S. should be concerned about surviving these next 5 years, before it worries about surviving the next 10, 15, or 20 years.
According to Bernanke, inflation is “very very low” and this is a major concern to him because we are very close to falling prices or deflation, which he says would lead to falling wages. Bernanke believes that with his $600 billion in “quantitative easing,” the risk of deflation is now “pretty low” but if he didn’t act, deflation would be a more serious concern.
The truth is, gold is the best gauge of inflation, not the government’s phony CPI numbers. Gold is above $1,400 per ounce and near a new all time high. If deflation was as serious of a risk as Bernanke says, we would be seeing falling gold prices. Bernanke’s quantitative easing has now made deflation absolutely impossible and Americans need to be concerned about the risk of massive inflation and perhaps hyperinflation. If we saw deflation, it would actually be a good thing because the savings and incomes of middle-class Americans would be worth more and prices for food and energy will become cheaper.
Bernanke says that those who look at the $600 billion in quantitative easing as being inflationary are “not looking at the risks of not acting.” He says the Fed has “very carefully analyzed inflation every which way” and that fears of inflation are “way overstated.” Bernanke claims it is a “myth” that the Fed is “printing money” because the “money in circulation is not changing in any significant way.”
The truth is, the Fed’s M2 money supply has risen by $44.9 billion to $8.8092 trillion over the past month. If you annualize this increase, we are talking about a 6.1% increase in the M2 money supply. All Americans who shop for food, gas or clothes, realize that the U.S. currently has around 6% price inflation and the CPI’s 1.17% rate way understates inflation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics uses geometric weighting and hedonics to understate inflation. The government’s CPI simply cannot be relied upon.
Bernanke admitted in his 60 Minutes interview that he did not see the panic of 2008 coming. His excuse was that the Fed didn’t have oversight of AIG or Lehman Brothers, and if the Fed had more powers they would have seen the crisis coming.
The truth is, there are many Austrian economists, including those who co-founded and are associated with NIA, who did see the panic of 2008 coming. Every Austrian economist who predicted the panic of 2008, now believes that massive inflation is in our future. It doesn’t make sense for Americans to trust Bernanke about inflation when he was wrong about the housing bubble and just about everything else.
Bernanke went on to say that the reason the U.S. has the largest income disparity gap out of any country in the world is because of “educational differences.” Bernanke claims that unemployment for Americans with college degrees is only 5%, compared to 10% unemployment for Americans with just a high school education.
The truth is, the reason for our income disparity gap is inflation. When the Fed prints money, it steals from the incomes and savings of the poor and middle-class and transfers this wealth to those on Wall Street who have access to the Fed’s cheap and easy money. It has nothing to do with education. In fact, because of Bernanke making it so easy for college students to get student loans, the U.S. has a college tuition inflation crisis.
College tuition now costs 60% of the median U.S. income, triple the rate of 20% which held strong from 1950 to 1980. Americans today who have college degrees are now worst off, because they are deeply into debt. The only reason their rate of unemployment is lower than those without college degrees is because those with college degrees are more determined to find jobs. If you ask any college graduate who has a job if their college degree helped them become employed, NIA believes the overwhelming majority of college graduates will tell you no.
Bernanke says that he is “trying to achieve balance” and “will not allow inflation to rise above 2%.” He says the Fed can “raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we have to” and the Fed will have “no problem raising rates, tightening monetary policy and reducing inflation when the time is appropriate.”
NIA believes the time is appropriate to raise interest rates now. The real rate of inflation is already a lot higher than 2% and if Bernanke waits for the U.S. to be in an all out currency crisis, it will be impossible to contain inflation. The U.S. will have a major inflationary problem with rising precious metals, food, energy and clothing prices, until the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to a level that is higher than the real rate of price inflation. If the Fed waits for real price inflation in the U.S. to be in the double-digits, it means we will need to see double-digit interest rates, which will send our interest payments on the national debt to over $1 trillion per year.
Bernanke says that all the Fed’s quantitative easing is doing is, “lowering interest rates,” but in fact, yields on the 10-year bond are now 2.97%, a new four-month high. NIA believes it is likely that bond yields will continue to rise dramatically in the months ahead, with 10-year bond yields likely to rise above 4% in the first half of 2011. The Fed’s goal of keeping interest rates low is obviously failing. The bond bubble is getting ready to burst, which will collapse the U.S. government debt bubble with it.
Americans simply cannot trust Bernanke, who has continuously lied to the American public and been wrong about everything. All Americans need to realize that the real economic crisis is still ahead and it will come as a result of Bernanke’s dangerous and destructive actions. Americans need to be preparing now for hyperinflation if they want to survive, because the U.S. government will soon no longer be able to provide for them.
It is important to spread the word about NIA to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, if you want America to survive hyperinflation. Please tell everybody you know to become members of NIA for free immediately at: http://inflation.us.