Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Rephrasing Bloomberg

July 6, 2009 1 comment
Men In Suits

Men In Suits

Articles on Bloomberg are entertaining, juicy, and just a tad biased. That’s what makes Bloomberg a much better read than most news outlets (since the news is additionally entertaining and juicy).

In a recent article with the understated and rather misleading title “Goldman Sach’s Investment in Trading Code Put at Risk by Theft”, a computer geek employed at the company is accused of running off with a vital piece of company software, it is quoted:

Aleynikov transferred the code, which is worth millions of dollars, to a computer server in Germany, and others may have had access to it, Facciponti said, adding that New York-based Goldman Sachs may be harmed if the software is disseminated.

The man was travelling. Anyone who knows about travel in the United States understands that one must not, under any circumstances, carry any information on a hard drive that could be worth something to anyone. So it is standard practice to transfer one’s information (including any projects one might be working on) in a secure manner to the Internet, like a VPN, and securely wiping the hard drive prior to leaving for the airport.

But the comment that makes one laugh comes from the prosecution:

The prosecutor added, “Once it is out there, anybody will be able to use this, and their market share will be adversely affected.”

The proprietary code lets the firm do “sophisticated, high-speed and high-volume trades on various stock and commodities markets,” prosecutors said in court papers. The trades generate “many millions of dollars” each year.

In other words, the software allows Goldman Sachs to, basically, cheat. And if the software was released, it would let everybody, well, cheat. And that would not be fair, because it goes against the whole principle of, err, cheating. That is, if everybody cheats the same way, then it ceases to be cheating.

The defense attorney is also quoted:

“If Goldman Sachs cannot possibly protect this kind of proprietary information that the government wants you to think is worth the entire United States market, one has to question how they plan to accommodate every other breach,” she said.

The defense is right of course, but it’s not that the government has any more dignity to lose. Many know very well how Wall Street operates and how the government helps, but not everybody believes it yet.

Perhaps George H.W. Bush’s infamous 2006 quotation will some day come true:

“if the American people knew what we have done, they would string us up from the lamp posts.”

Perhaps the real worry for Goldman Sachs is that the leakage of such sensitive software would reveal just how the markets are rigged by the big players, and how the honest majority is swindled at every turn.


Unconvincing Prospects of Recovery



It’s hard to see how the economy can recover when, slow as it is, the breaks are applied even before it regains any momentum.

The Australian Government is scrambling to keep itself from falling into a spiral of debt by raising taxes, in particular the tax on petrol which is already prohibitive (38.1 cents/litre), although less, as a proportion, than it was when the rate was frozen in 2001. In an article published in the Brisbane Times, economists, conservationists and politicians are presented as having one voice that fuel tax needs to be indexed, not charged as a fixed amount per litre. Yet when the game plays in favour of the Government, such as with income tax, indexation never seems to catch on, decade after decade.

Tax crusades of all kinds are to be expected in the next budget and over the next few political terms. Superannuation, already disemboweled during the most recent stock market crash, will likely be hit again by raised taxes. The reasoning for making tax changes is interesting, since it is implied that the reduced tax on superannuation is undeserved:

The existing contribution limits are tipped to halve, with any money above these levels to be taxed at penalty rates instead of the 15 per cent discounted, or concessional, rate that applies now.

Such a move would affect only about 2 per cent of people and help remove a major imbalance that benefits high income earners, according to independent research house SuperRatings.

At the beginning of the superannuation push (by governments), the threat was that the aged pension would be eliminated. In order to avoid destitution and a life worse than death, the public was urged contribute maximally into superannuation, instead of paying off a debt or putting it in the bank. In retrospect, shoving the money under the mattress would have been wiser, irrespective of any tax incentives. And now, governments seem to have forgotten their spiel that superannuation will reduce the government’s pension burden by letting people fund their own retirements. They will put a stop to that by taxing the already shrunken superannuation savings. The government has no problem with double-dipping into the public pocket, and although initial tax increases on superannuation will target the “rich”, the coming inflationary spiral will quickly push the middle classes into the higher tax bracket. That wasn’t what the public was thinking when the government proposed that superannuation would help make pensions payable.

Anything that moves, or doesn’t move, is likely to get a tax increase. Beer and cigarettes are popular favourites, but even charities will not escape the tax man. The government, of course, is claiming that it is acting in the national interest, just as it did when it gave us all our cash handouts, first home buyers grants, baby bonuses, and other bribes and inducements to do what is not in our interest.

If the government was genuine about economic stimulus, rather than merely generating good quarterly retail figures, it would have made its spending conditional, invested in Australian run initiatives, directed towards activities which, in the end, make society more efficient. There are innumerable possibilities. A heavy subsidy (eg: 100%) on public transport, for example, would have encouraged people to go out, shop, socialize and move about the cities whilst simultaneously easing city traffic, smog and carbon dioxide production. The abolition of university fees would have made the financial futures of the young more certain, bringing about a return to fairness in academia and going some way towards reducing elitism. The extension of Medicare to dental services would have saved money in the long run through reduced hospitalizations from disease arising from poor dentition.

With superannuation, it tricked the public into putting all its money into a single investment vehicle; one which failed. It will now tax the remaining blood out of it. With the First Home Buyers’ Grant, the government has tricked people on low incomes or unsteady incomes to enter into unreasonably large mortgages on overpriced houses. Most of that money will return as taxes, but the people will be left in an ever growing rut of debt. The stimulus payments, on the other hand, weren’t a trick;  they were just plain stupid.

The government, more than ever before, is not to be trusted. Playing on fear and greed, it herds its constituents into positions of vulnerability and then taxes them until they bleed.

Modern People: Can’t save, Won’t save

April 29, 2009 1 comment
... switch off the TV, eat a piece of fruit and go for a walk.

... switch off the TV, eat a piece of fruit and go for a walk.

Have you ever noticed that when you want someone to give you something useful for free (or sometimes even for money), such as the Government, there are pages and pages of forms to fill out, hour-long queues to stand in and innumerable supporting documents to bring with you? But when it comes to paying a bill, it’s just a swipe of a card, a click of a button. It’s because, when something is in your interests, you do all the work. Getting robbed takes very little effort at all.

Two pieces of news came out at almost the same time in Australia regarding the housing market and banking sectors:

  1. House sales are rising sharply (4.2% in March, on the back of a similar trend since January)
  2. Bad debts are eroding the profits of the major banks. The latest, ANZ, reported a 43% fall in its cash profit.

This is on the background of rising unemployment, no evidence of a real turnaround in the global economy, the new threat of Swine Flu (real or imagined) and the Australian Government’s desire to boost military funding (yet some how crawl itself towards a balanced budget over years), which implies that first home buyer grants, gratuitous thousand-dollar cheques in the mail and mortgage relief programs are a thing of the present but not the near future.

If you had no significant savings, an unsteady job, the threat of dying of pneumonia over the next two months and read about all the dire economic news as abounds in the media, would you take out a mortgage on a house? Before you say no, remember that a whole lot of people are saying yes. They are probably saying yes because, in amongst all the negative facts, there are a few ‘experts’ giving glowing opinions of an imminent turnaround in the world economy. Of course they don’t have a vested interest in off-loading their own bad investments, do they?

A good proportion of those people who are buying new homes today must be oblivious to what’s coming to them. Have they got life insurance? Income protection insurance? If not, how are their spouse and children going to manage without them if something should happen? Who will pay the debt? Whereas before, those families entering a mortgage agreement only had to worry about next week’s rent, now they are faced with the next thirty years on the property which, who knows, may be worthless in a short while, because they and many others will be forced to sell. It’s a big risk to take if you have dependents to look after. Even those with insurance can’t depend on the insurer paying out in the long run. Many of those institutions might still be wiped out.

It’s so obvious that it hardly needs saying, that people, in general, cannot save money. Have money, will spend. Offer people a ‘bonus’, and they’ll go and get pregnant, even if they don’t want children. Offer a bonus, and they’ll spend it on Chinese electronic goods, or buy something on-line at a store located outside Australia. Offer a bonus (FHB grant), and people will sign themselves into a thirty year mortgage with a bank (heartless, soulless). Nobody seems to have a sense of danger. Perhaps it’s because they no longer remember fairy tales, with their big bad wolves, village destroying giants, deceiving witches, poverty stricken children, cruel step-mothers, lazy rabbits, poor widows and pestilence. Instead, it’s all Post-man Pat, the Telletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine and those brain-numbing Wiggles. For the current home-buying generation, though, it was probably Fat Cat and Friends, Playschool and Sesame Street. That stuff wasn’t even well presented, let alone equally content-free.

What hope is there for these first home buyers, when they are so clueless? What about everyone else, who they are unwittingly dragging down with them? Just as it is said, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, as thou temptedst him in the place of temptation.”, so we should realize that, if we tempt the Government, it will call our bluff. If everybody throws themselves into ridiculous debt, in the pursuit of the “home ownership” dream, they will break the whole system of property ownership. The Government will turn around and take away everybody’s property and we be left with a very nasty form of socialism, run, not by governments (which at least get embarrassed if you don’t vote for them), but by heartless, soulless banks, who don’t care an iota if you were to die in the gutter tomorrow.

The blame, though, does not really fall upon the heads of the populace. It has been robbed of its culture, tricked out of believing the sound wisdom of its ancestors, brainwashed by a four-cornered electric puppet-box which sits in every lounge room, even the bedrooms of teenagers. People’s heads are filled with illogical, unbalanced rubbish. It is no surprise, then, that their decision making is of similar quality.

Circus Economicus to Crisis Maximus

April 24, 2009 1 comment


The (Christian) Torches of Nero

Nero, to win credit for himself of enjoying nothing so much as the capital, prepared banquets in the public places, and used the whole city, so to say, as his private house. Of these entertainments the most famous for their notorious profligacy were those furnished by Tigellinus, which I will describe as an illustration, that I may not have again and again to narrate similar extravagance. He had a raft constructed on Agrippa’s lake, put the guests on board and set it in motion by other vessels towing it. These vessels glittered with gold and ivory; the crews were arranged according to age and experience in vice. Birds and beasts had been procured from remote countries, and sea monsters from the ocean. On the margin of the lake were set up brothels crowded with noble ladies, and on the opposite bank were seen naked prostitutes with obscene gestures and movements. As darkness approached, all the adjacent grove and surrounding buildings resounded with song, and shone brilliantly with lights. Nero, who polluted himself by every lawful or lawless indulgence, had not omitted a single abomination which could heighten his depravity, till a few days afterwards he stooped to marry himself to one of that filthy herd, by name Pythagoras, with all the forms of regular wedlock. The bridal veil was put over the emperor; people saw the witnesses of the ceremony, the wedding dower, the couch and the nuptial torches; everything in a word was plainly visible, which, even when a woman weds darkness hides. Tacitus (Annals, 15.37)

Nero was populist and hedonist. He was also probably insane and it is postulated that he, and most other aristocratic Romans suffered from lead poisoning. The above account by Tacitus (having occurred during his childhood) occurs shortly before the great fire of Rome which, burning for a whole week, destroyed much of the City including Nero’s palace and the Temple of Jupiter, a building which had spanned eight centuries of history. It would have left around a million inhabitants homeless. The fire also completely destroyed the homes of the members of the Roman Senate. The entire system of legislative government, the decision making core of the Roman Empire, was left in disarray.

Eugene Thirion - Triumph of Faith

Eugene Thirion - Triumph of Faith

There is no answer to the question of who caused the great fire, but rumors abounded. It’s as likely that the fire was accidental as is the possibility of arson. Nero was suspected to have organized the fire by many, for reasons of reshaping the City against the wishes of the Senate. Fearing the loss of authority, he blamed the Christians, whom he persecuted with ever greater brutality thereafter. The Christians believed a prophecy which predicted Rome’s destruction by flame. The date of 19th July, on the night of which the star Sirius rose above the Roman horizon, was given much astrological significance. They were also probably saying “I told you so”, which would have invited the finger of blame. Refusing to ‘worship’ the Caesar and the Roman gods, Christians had already been identified as a potentially subversive group. The thing going against the theory that they conspired to burn down Rome is that such a crime would certainly not have been condoned by the followers of Jesus whose doctrine was generally pacifist, whose beliefs included a rejection of the brutality and moral depravity which abounded at the time.

Regarding statecraft, Nero’s populism (and popularity) was as important as his brutal oppression of perceived enemies. He lowered taxes (down to 2.5%), cut the wages of lawyers and cracked down on various forms of government corruption. He made imports cheaper by removing tariffs. These interventions were not ‘reforms’ as much as they were attempts to promote himself at any cost. The city of Rome, in many respects, had outgrown itself. The streets were a shambles and the quality of buildings poor. It didn’t seem to matter, because the people were distracted and they loved their Caesar. Yet Nero’s populism and extravagance threatened to bankrupt the government. In response, he kicked off Rome’s economic decline by debasing the dinarius, reducing its gold content by 5%.

The events in Rome around this period are significant, not merely because of the magnitude of the fire. Rome was rebuilt and the growth of the Empire continued, although the administrative problems compounded over time. Nero’s Rome stands out as being the time and place where Christianity began the war of ideas, the battle for Rome’s heart and mind, in earnest. That Nero chose Christians as the scapegoats for the Great Fire shows their significance. The number of followers of Jesus in Rome by 60 AD must already have numbered in the tens of thousands (or more) for Nero to have been so worried about them.

People occasionally compare the Western world with aspects of Roman history. There are some extremely important differences which nullify many of these comparisons. Nero was truly powerful as an individual. His personal opinion counted. Today, the personal opinion of almost every head of state in a Western democracy counts for almost nothing. Nero had significant control of the Empire’s finances. Today, no Western government has any realistic control of its finances; the issuance of money is practically in the hands of private individuals.

However, other similarities are striking, such as the emphasis on public entertainment as a means of distraction, while extreme brutality and torture is sanctioned by governments. The loss of grip on real power by politicians and their increasing populism have similarities with Nero’s approach. The debasement of the currency by Nero and the same today is also a telling sign of the times. History teaches that such moves tend to precede an unremitting economic decline that eventually threatens civilizations. Today, the flood of US dollars threatens to have the same effect, except that it is occurring so rapidly that the three hundred or so years it took for Rome to ruin itself might be curtailed to a mere 18 or so months for America and its closest allies.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but the lessons that can be gleaned from history are eternal. The Neroes of our time are not poisoned by lead exposure, but the philosophies that guide their decision making are no less poisonous and insidious. Nero’s era marked the beginning of centuries of Christian persecution, and the oppression of good ideas. Stupid decision making on a massive scale lead to Rome’s decline and fall. The suppression of ideas and the blindness (and corruption) of Western leadership threatens to have the same effect on our civilization. Yet the time of Nero and the centuries that followed are a source of great hope for our own future, because despite all efforts to the contrary, the principles of peaceful resistance, and the power of truth succeeded in overcoming even the most rigorous opposition. The Romans thought the world would be theirs, but they were wrong.

The fall of the Roman Empire, as gradual as it was, resulted in the end of slavery in Europe and the rise of Christianity. In our time, the pace of change is an order of magnitude greater, due in part to the speed at which ideas are propagated. As the economic crisis plays out, today’s oligarchy believes it is on the verge of world domination, of finally tying things up for good, but it cannot escape the fact that its position and influence are jeopardized by this very belief. The fact that the ‘global elite’ is not a meritocracy, that its money is meaningless, that its people are corrupt and its philosophies are not based on truth, makes it fallible and weak. By relying on false principles, it lays the seeds of its own destruction.

Roman civilization was not built on false economy, hedonism and laziness, or the Circus Maximus. Modern civilization will fall for the same reasons.

Australia’s Economic Storm: If only it were real rain

April 22, 2009 2 comments

Where will the lightning strike?

Where will the lightning strike?

First Drops of Rain

As predicted, the world economic storm has become more than a mere shadow over Australia’s immediate future, as ABC News (Australia) reports:

The International Monetary Fund has drastically downgraded its outlook for the Australian economy, forecasting it will contract by 1.4 per cent this year before growing slightly again next year.

Their estimations are that the US will contract by 4% in 2009, making Australia look good in comparison, but Australia’s situation is not necessarily better. Everything just seems to happen later here.

Tax revenue is falling like a stone, making the indiscriminate Rudd cash stimuli (nicknamed the RuddBank) impossible to fund on anything other than debt. From a Chinese source, as it happens. The problem is that Australia is receiving paper money, but that China will want something more substantial, more tangible in return, such as assets, foreign policy decisions, even domestic policy changes. Such is our patriotism that the idea of a kind of one-child policy for Australia is actually being discussed. Freudian slip, perhaps?

It’s also becoming clearer by the day that the housing market is being propped up by artificial interventions such as the First Homebuyer’s Grant and mortgage relief programs for the unemployed, which are around the corner. The sub-prime mortgages in the US were simply a way of propping up (and worsening) a housing bubble by making the purchase of housing on debt an irresistible prospect for the soon-to-be unemployed. The current Australian Government’s fiddling with the housing market will have the same effect. Sure, it is not causing rises in housing prices, but it is hiding the true bottom of the market, which is falling away silently in the background.

The one big thing missing in Australia so far is to wake up one morning and find that one of the giants of the economic landscape turned out to be a huge fraud, wiping out thousands of investors in one fell swoop. The ANZ Bank was looking like a possibility in this regard late last year. It was said to have the largest international exposure to the economic downturn, when compared with the other three large banks. However, recent reports suggest that the opposite might be true, that the Big Four have come out stronger than ever before, as they buy up assets around the place which have been put up for sale by other struggling banks, including the smaller ones in Australia. There are a lot of unknowns in all of this – many balls in the air, as it were. It smells like the banks are still quite vulnerable, however, with the Government being ever so eager to prop them up, especially in the real estate sector.

As was stated in previous posts, we are experiencing the calm before the storm in Australia. News abounds on just how bad the USA is faring, with ‘tea parties’ all over the place and the possibility of dissolution of the Union getting a mention here and there on the mainstream media. A lot of that is staged and therefore meaningless, but a groundswell of genuine discontent is building rapidly. Yet still the politicians and talking heads pretend that Australia doesn’t have a problem, that the nation will pull through with a few little bumps but not much else. This view is ridiculously optimistic.

Conflicting Interests

The differences in economic opinion between, for example, the IMF and politicians, occur because of differences in points of view. That is, each source has a different aim and will tend to report the things it wants to believe. The IMF stands to gain from the global recession, whereas politicians stand to lose. Therefore, the IMF will choose to ignore the stock market rally in the US and the politicians will try to take credit for it, even though the entire thing way out of their control at this point.

This illustrates one of the difficulties in judging the economic situation in Australia. The useful data is outdated and current information comes from biased sources.

Our prime minister is a bit like a real estate salesman, desperately trying to talk up a barren, rocky wasteland as a development opportunity of a lifetime, with the building materials (rocks) all ready for your dream home, no neighbors or traffic noise (middle of nowhere), and so on. Sure, it’s a rocky wasteland, he says (so you can’t quote him later that he lied) but imagine the possibilities! It’s no surprise that the only customers coming to help Rudd are those who don’t want to be part of the neighborhood (we think) but plan to come in, take the rocks away, and leave the sand behind. A real estate agent does not care what the place gets used for as long as it sells. Neither do politicians, as a general rule.

The IMF, on the other hand, is a bank – hard nosed and greedy. Banks, too, have their sales pitch of walking hand in hand with little battlers, helping them realize their dreams, but in the end they are still banks, out to make money for their shareholders. And when there is more money than can be counted, that money turns to power, influence and control. The IMF has designs to manage the world on every level, through de facto ownership of key infrastructure and government assets. The International Monetary Fund is therefore not an objective source of world economic opinion. It has a vested interest in things being really really bad, as is shown by an eagerness to unify world currencies (under its own banner) and to become an issuer of money to the developed world as well as the developing world. The IMF stands to gain a lot from economic badness. It is also a private organization, let’s not forget, and is unlikely to descend upon the chaotic world as a knight in shining armor, eager to spread democracy and fairness.

Which weatherman do we believe?

We can safely say that neither is to be believed to any great extent. The nose knows.

If we ignore the media and look at what is going on in the street, we can already see people getting irate, complaining of having too little money and feeling some economic strain. People are spending more of their money on groceries and less of it on non edible stuff. This is because the price of groceries is rising, leaving less money for toys, bikes and other discretionary items. The shift in spending habits precedes the eventual fall in total spending, which will come as a result of unemployment and the drying up of stimulus money. Staff in supermarkets are already under pressure, with reduced numbers on the floor and increasing workloads. In other stores, staff are failing to meet sales quotas and are gradually being laid off.

To stretch the weather analogy to its limit, all of this is like a cloud that has passed the brink of precipitation. The droplets of rain now falling are the heralds of a coming economic deluge.

If only it were real rain!

Creeping Elitism or Crappy Education

April 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Collingwood School, UK, 1950

Collingwood School, UK, 1950

Elitism generally refers to the (wrongful) centralization of power to a minority group which shares a particular ability, trait or character, such as wealth, education or breeding. People mostly hate elitism purely because it excludes them, but it is a natural fact of society that people with similar interests form groups. Unions and business clubs are the same thing in this regard, except that business clubs tend to work in their members’ interests far more often than do unions!

There is nothing wrong with having a lot of money. I doubt anyone, after some consideration, would have any objections to have plenty of it, but what gets one’s ire up is the way in which money is obtained, especially if it was by immoral means. There are wealthy people who have reached their status fairly and squarely on the foundations of good ideas, good management and good business principles alone, but the truth, if it were known, would probably be that the majority of the filthy rich did whatever it took to get there – all within the law of the land, of course, but rarely within the confines of moral law. They see life and money as a game, where understanding and exploiting the rules (and exploiting those who don’t understand the rules) is more important than trying to play fairly and not crush one’s opponent.

A similar situation exists with education. There is nothing wrong with being intelligent, educated, academically accomplished, but growing numbers of people with academic degrees are obtaining them undeservedly, getting ‘helped’ through, followed by getting plum jobs and so forth. In the Financial Times, an article appears bemoaning the “shocking” rise in elitism among the Professions in the United Kingdom. It describes how, among groups such as lawyers, fewer and fewer ‘outsiders’ are admitted into the ranks. The profession remains within families, who, by means of the wealth generated by the profession, are able to afford to send their children to the private schools which feed the universities which in turn train the lawyers. Internships and other important appointments are then given to the favorites, either on the basis of long standing friendships, club membership or family ties. It’s a typical story of the class divisions which the English speaking world seems unable to shake off.

The problem with the public debate is that the wrong phenomenon (elitism) is being identified as being a problem. The real problem is the erosion of meritocracy.

Elite groups are an essential part of a functioning society. Academics are rightly entrusted with the task of giving society timely advice on topics which they are experts on. The wealthy are entitled to do whatever they wish with their money, within legal limits. Doctors are entitled to support each other, protect their profession and advise society on medical issues. The same for lawyers, teachers, nurses, shop owners, cleaners, anybody.

What society is lacking is the freedom for someone from the bottom to rise to the top by his own merit. It is not the fault of the professions or professionals, but the abject failure of government to provide an adequate standard of free education for its constituency. Because state run education is so inadequate, universities are naturally looking at private education for its intake because those schools produce literate, numerate adults. The students from these schools continue to do well in university, not because they are more intelligent, but because they are better supported, both socially and financially.

Bright students in state run schools suffer from poor quality teachers, poor quality teaching materials, large class sizes, lack of resources and low morale. To get an equivalent score to that of a privately educated student, a state educated student has to work harder and put up with lower expectations placed on him.

It wasn’t as bad as this in the past, because in the past, to be a teacher was a serious vocation, a respected profession, like being a doctor. You had to be above average at school to become a teacher. It was possible to fail a teaching degree if you weren’t good enough. Teachers graduating from universities were of a guaranteed minimum standard, such that whatever school someone went to, he could be almost guaranteed to receive a good and fair education, as long as the individual himself was enthusiastic and hard working. With the decline in teaching, the semi-adequate graduates look like geniuses when placed next to their peers. As a result, they get all the well paid jobs at private schools, with small class sizes and luxurious facilities.

So, what passes for elitism is merely the fact that those who understand the inadequacies of state run education are doing what they can to ensure that their own progeny is not disadvantaged by government incompetency. No doubt there are, additionally, elements of corruption and pockets of racial supremacy, but by and large the problem lies squarely with government.

The solution? Pay teachers what they’re worth, and the previously better situation will gradually return.

Bernanke Reveals His Hand

March 10, 2009 Leave a comment

We might as well hand the keys of the liquor store to the village drunkard!Generic Tyrannical Leader

Ben S. Bernanke, praised, loved, adored, cherished, heeded and worshiped by so many at his installment as Chairmen of the Federal Reserve, now presides over one of the biggest, over-flogged dead horses the world has ever seen: the U.S. economy. Yes folks, he is yet another Naked Emperor, even if he doesn’t know it yet.

The Financial times reports:

The US needs an overarching regulatory authority to prevent a repeat of risks building up unchecked across the financial system and exploding into economic crisis, Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday.

In remarks that echo calls on Capitol Hill for a powerful co-ordinating regulator in the US, the Federal Reserve chairman said the central bank would need to be involved in such a body, if not take the lead role itself.

In other words, he is saying (whilst rubbing his hands greedily behind the lectern):

What we need is a national government run by me.. err.. experts… economic experts. There being no economic experts quite as wonderful as central bankers, I hereby propose that my friends and I should control the government. It’s for your own good, after all.

Better do what he says, right? After all, he wears an expensive suit (or was it Made in China?) and has lots of powerful friends with lots of guns and stuff. Never mind that the Federal Reserve is probably insolvent, and the United States of America with it. Big oops!

What Bernanke is suggesting is effectively no change. Banks (central banks no less) were the ones who took the inappropriate risks. If the banks regulate the banks, which they did before, we can expect not less of the same, but more.