Time to do our OWN homework?

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke wants us to believe that he’s spent a considerable amount of time studying the Great Depression of the 1930s. That’s doubtful. What is quite clear, however, is that he knows all about what motivated P.T. Barnum in that era.

“There’s a sucker born every minute,” was the circus mogul’s firm belief, and there’s strong evidence that the Fed chairman shares that same philosophy whenever he deals with the 300 million Americans who’ve been swallowing his every word since he was appointed to his hallowed position.

Mr. Bernanke says whatever he thinks his sitting audience wants to hear. Fortunately for him, those audiences don’t really understand his double-talk at all, but because “the other guy” – the one sitting in the next seat – seems to understand, each listener feels compelled to pretend to understand the chairman’s spinnage. Raising questions, after all, would make one appear to be a dunce.

We are living proof that Mr. Barnum knew his clientele – and that Mr. Bernanke does, too. The Business Times of 26 Mar 2012 reported Mr. Bernanke saying this “on the outskirts of Washington”:

“WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke signaled on Monday that the Fed was likely to keep its simulative policies in place despite improvements in the labour market.

“‘A wide range of indicators suggests that the job market has been improving, which is a welcome development indeed.’ the US central bank chief said in a speech on the outskirts of Washington …”

“Simulative policies”? What are those? And why didn’t anyone ask for a clarification?

“On the outskirts of Washington”? Where exactly? And who were his listeners?

Then on the very next day, the 27th, he had something different to say to ABC News:

“WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday it is too soon to declare victory on the US economy, warning against complacency in policymaking as the outlook brightens.

“‘We haven’t quite yet got to the point where we can be completely confident that we’re on a track to full recovery,’ Mr. Bernanke told ABC News in a rare on-the-record interview … joblessness was still at a troubling high and housing markets still weak, he added …”

On Monday the job market was “improving”, but on Tuesday “joblessness was still at a troubling high”. Does anyone know the real story? Does anyone go out of their way to find out? The biggest problem Americans have is that we follow the lead of the guy “in the next seat” instead of doing our own homework. But that’s what we learned in our Public School system, and that’s why Messrs Barnum and Bernanke are taking full advantage of our peculiar gullibility.