One of the most famous, and prescient, financial cartoons in American history is the above depiction of the Federal Reserve Bank as a giant octopus that would come to parasitically suck the life out of all U.S. institutions as well as free markets.
The image is taken from Alfred Owen Crozier’s U.S. Money Vs Corporation Currency, “Aldrich Plan,” Wall Street Confessions! Great Bank Combine, published in 1912, just a year before the creation of the Federal Reserve.
On Sunday night, the current high priest of money printing, asset bubbles and inequality, Jerome Powell, appeared on 60 Minutes. Interviewer Scott Pelley mentioned the fact that such discussions are rare and noted the last time a Fed head appeared for such a chat was Ben Bernanke back in 2010.
As such, what I find most interesting about this event wasn’t Powell’s boilerplate, bureaucratic propaganda about how the economy’s doing fine and how much central bankers love average Americans, but why he and the institution he heads felt a need to do this now.
There’s no doubt something has the Fed spooked otherwise Powell never would have done this. One factor is they know the economic ground’s starting to shift beneath them, and they need to push a particular narrative ahead of time so central bankers can once again do as they please when “the time to act” arrives.
This is why Powell pushed the blame on the current economic slowdown on China and Europe. The Fed is no different than your average politician. It takes full credit when things go well, but endlessly deflects and blames outside forces when things fall apart.
Rule number 1 of the Federal Reserve: It’s never the Fed’s fault.
Rule number 2 of the Federal Reserve: It’s never the Fed’s fault.
Rule number 3 of the Federal Reserve…
You get the point. If central bankers accept blame, or admit they got anything over the past decade terribly wrong, then they can’t justify doing more of the same and worse in the future. And that’s exactly what they plan to do,