Brilliance from Boing Boing:
Archive for December 2010
Bernanke Is 100% Sure
I don’t know about you, but I’m not 100% sure about anything. The older I get, the less sure I am about everything. I question things that I was sure were true when I was 25 years old. I’m not sure I’ll wake up in the morning. I’m not sure I’ll survive my commute to work. That is why I was flabbergasted last night as I watched Scott Pelley interview Ben Bernanke on 60 Minutes.
As a side note, boy this show has gone downhill. In the old days of real journalism, Mike Wallace would have scorched Ben Bernanke, pointing out his phenomenal ability to be wrong or clueless on every financial issue the country has faced in the last 10 years. Today, Pelley underhands softball questions to Bernanke and never challenges him. It was a pathetic display of journalism.
Below is the dialogue that made me almost fall off my chair:
Pelley: Is keeping inflation in check less of a priority for the Federal Reserve now?
Bernanke: No, absolutely not. What we’re trying to do is achieve a balance. We’ve been very, very clear that we will not allow inflation to rise above two percent or less.
Pelley: Can you act quickly enough to prevent inflation from getting out of control?
Bernanke: We could raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we have to. So, there really is no problem with raising rates, tightening monetary policy, slowing the economy, reducing inflation, at the appropriate time. Now, that time is not now.
Pelley: You have what degree of confidence in your ability to control this?
Bernanke: One hundred percent.
The hubris in this statement is breathtaking. The U.S. economy is a complex interaction of thousands of variables and is intertwined with the policies and actions of hundreds of other countries throughout the world. No one has a handle on the worldwide economy and no model can predict anything with any amount of accuracy. And still, this pompous professor from Princeton who has never worked a day in his life in the real world is 100% SURE that HE knows what will happen and when it will happen. I’m sure his track record of predictions and analysis will give you comfort in this statement:
“We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.” – 7/1/2005
“Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise.” – 2/15/2006
March 28th, 2007 – Ben Bernanke: “At this juncture . . . the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime markets seems likely to be contained,”
May 17th, 2007 – Bernanke: “While rising delinquencies and foreclosures will continue to weigh heavily on the housing market this year, it will not cripple the U.S.”
June 20th, 2007 – Bernanke: (the subprime fallout) “will not affect the economy overall.”
The fiscal year 2009 Dept of Education budget was $59.2 BILLION. And what did all that money buy us? Not much.
Fifteen-year-old students in the U.S. ranked 25th of 34 countries on an international math test and scored in the middle of the pack in science and reading, raising concerns the U.S. isn’t prepared to succeed in the global economy.
Teenagers from South Korea and Finland led in almost all academic categories on the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, according to the Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents 34 countries. U.S. students ranked 17th in science and 14th in reading. The U.S. government considers the OECD test one of the most comprehensive measures of international achievement.
The results show that U.S. students must improve to compete in a global economy, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said yesterday in a telephone interview. The Obama administration is promoting national curriculum standards and a revamping of teacher pay that stresses performance, rather than credentials and seniority.
“The brutal fact here is there are many countries that are far ahead of us and improving more rapidly than we are,” Duncan said. “This should be a massive wakeup call to the entire country.”
Naturally, the government response is to spend MORE money and give themselves MORE power. But doesn’t the 30+ year history of the federal dept of education prove that it is positively made of FAIL?
Abolish DOE at the federal level. Give control of the schools back to the individual states and local communities. Save billions of dollars and bring real learning back to the schools. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, right?
1. US Diplomats lie, spy and generally have a low opinion of non-US officials and leaders.
2. Governments of the world engage in secret deals, gossip and general sneakiness.
Any government who didn’t already know these things would have to be incredibly naive. It would also be incredibly naive of the US government to believe that other governments take everything the Americans say or do at face value. So while the CableGate specifics might be shocking to us “ordinary” folks, I doubt there were any real surprises for anyone involved in world “diplomacy” on a daily basis.
Oh, maybe there is a little embarrassment over some of the things that were leaked, but the 9/11 of world diplomacy? Hardly.
Video of the Day: