Fed to Treasury: "F— off!"

How long will it be before everyone realizes that neither Congress nor the President is in charge?

The Federal Reserve Board has rejected a request by U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a public review of the central bank’s structure and governance, three people familiar with the matter said. The Obama administration proposed on June 17 a financial- regulatory overhaul including a “comprehensive review” of the Fed’s “ability to accomplish its existing and proposed functions” and the role of its regional banks. The Fed was to lead the study and enlist the Treasury and “a wide range of external experts.”

“The Fed was created by Congress and it is not part of the executive branch.” That sounds like a plausible excuse, except for the fact that the Fed has replied to Congress in precisely the same manner.

Feminism made women less happy

And I doubt they’re too pleased that it has helped make men happier either:

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

“Choice is inherently stressful,” Buckingham said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

It’s not that hard to figure out. Men have been freed from the expectation of marriage and supporting families, while increasing numbers of women now have to support themselves while being juggled by a series of guys who wait until Sportscenter is over to decide between picking up the phone to make a booty call or firing up World of Warcraft.

In fact, if a man doesn’t care about seeing his kids after a psychotic ex-wife blows up the family and begins her doomed search for a nonexistent happiness – and there’s usually little he can do about it anyhow- there are really no social pressures on him anymore. He can play video games all weekend, charge a call girl online, wear a dress, dance in public to the Pet Shop Boys, attempt to download all the porn off the Internet, or take home a different girl from the bar every night, and no one is going to say boo to him. Feminism isn’t responsible for all those things, of course, but you couldn’t openly do any of them back in the 1960s without expecting to hear a lot of negative feedback. Whether you’re a bad boy or a virtuous and upstanding gentleman, it’s all good these days. Men have more options now and few of them are unpleasant.

With the exception of their wives and daughters, men no longer have to give a flying rat’s posterior about anything the women around them do, think, or say, (which may have always been true, of course, but they used to have to be polite and pretend). No one of either sex expects them to anymore. Meanwhile, women are fretting over twenty times as many things as their grandmothers ever did, and because women hate making decisions, their increase in options feels like an oppressive burden.

I’ve always said that men won the Sexual Revolution. Reading Dowd’s column, I’m not sure what is funnier. Is it the fact that feminism has made women less happy or the fact that so many women will still cling to the “gains” that are making them miserable?

I told you he wasn’t that smart

The Obama administration is certainly living up to its comedic potential – Obama’s ignorance and illogic even manages to stun Paul Krugman:

I was startled last week when Mr. Obama, in an interview with Bloomberg News, questioned the case for limiting financial-sector pay: “Why is it,” he asked, “that we’re going to cap executive compensation for Wall Street bankers but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or N.F.L. football players?”

That’s an astonishing remark — and not just because the National Football League does, in fact, have pay caps. Tech firms don’t crash the whole world’s operating system when they go bankrupt; quarterbacks who make too many risky passes don’t have to be rescued with hundred-billion-dollar bailouts. Banking is a special case — and the president is surely smart enough to know that.

Surely? I wouldn’t bet on it, given the growing amount of evidence to the contrary. And the special case of banking is irrelevant anyhow. The reason why we’re going to cap banking compensation and not the compensation of entrepeneurs and NFL players is that entrepeneurs and NFL players actually create value. They’re not being kept out of insolvency by forced contributions from the American taxpayer. No industry that receives hundreds of billions of taxpayer money should be permitted to pay more than the average American income in salary to its executives, much less the $18 billion in bonuses that was paid out in 2008.

And if those limits mean that banksters will stop banksting as they occasionally threaten, that’s great! The truth is America’s banksters don’t deserve a cap in their compensation so much as they merit a cap in their fat collective asses.

This comment from a Calculated Risk reader made me laugh: “That is truly one heartbreaking statement of staggering stupidity straight out of the mouth of the man who has finished shattering any hope I had that we could steer this ship back on course. I will and must admit, that I was totally taken in, hook line and sinker by this fraud. Im quite disappointed in myself, although my only other option would have been to not vote at all.”

Well, better late than never. He is far from the only disenchanted Obama voter. I assume we can soon look forward to Obama attempting to demonstrate that he’s a big NFL fan… with about the same success he had with his bowling.

WND column

Bernanke’s ‘Essays’

“It should also be emphasized, though, that not just the existence of financial difficulties during the 1920s but also the policy response to those difficulties was important. Austria is probably the most extreme case of nagging banking problems being repeatedly “papered over.” That country had banking problems throughout the 1920s, which were handled principally by merging failing banks into still-solvent banks. An enforced merger of the Austrian Bodencreditanstalt with two failing banks in 1927 weakened that institution, which was part of the reason that the Bodencreditanstalt in turn had to be forcibly merged with the Creditanstalt in 1929. The insolvency of the Creditanstalt, finally revealed when a director refused to sign an “optimistic” financial statement in May 1931, sparked the most intense phase of the European crisis.”

– Ben S. Bernanke, “Essays on the Great Depression,” p. 96.

One of the benefits of having an intellectual at the helm of the Federal Reserve during this ongoing economic crisis is that intellectuals tend to leave a paper trail. Bernanke, famous for being a student of the Great Depression, is without question very well-informed on the relevant historical issues. His book reveals an intelligent and scholarly mind that does not shirk from the details but, rather, leaps without hesitation into statistical analysis of the most technical economic minutiae. The book simply wallows in charts, equations and log changes; the net result is impressive, especially when compared with his predecessor’s lightweight, revisionist chronicle, “The Age of Turbulence.”