Happy anniversary Helicopter Ben! It was 10 years ago today that Mr. Bernanke gave his speech titled “Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here” as at the time some “expressed concern that we may soon face a new problem, the danger of deflation or falling prices” as reported inflation rates were low at the time as the economy was in its post stock market bubble malaise. In the speech he said, “US dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the US Government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of US dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the US government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation.” He then went on to ironically say, “Of course, the US government is not going to print money and distribute it willy-nilly (although as we will see later, there are practical policies that approximate this behavior).” The CRB index proceeded to rally 159% over the following six years and gold, on that day in 2002 at $317.60, has ‘only’ risen 444% since. We have now 10 years of economic results and the attached debt due to the Fed’s attempt to avoid deflation after the 2001-2002 stock market bubble popping induced recession.
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