Feeling Our Way Through A U.S. Recovery


Whoa whoa whoa…feelings…

— Morris Albert

Our plane got delayed. This left us in a small waiting room for longer than we wanted to be there. The two large TV screens were inescapable.

Who watches this stuff? Poor schmucks.

The more they inform themselves by watching TV news, the less they really know. If they watch long enough, their brains must become like a zombie city, populated by zombie characters they’ve seen on TV…animated by the zombies’ fictions…and dominated by zombie emotions from their two-dimensional personages on the LCD screen.

The most important event in the Atlanta area was the death — apparently by suicide — of a well-known football player. We never met the man; we had no particular reaction one way or another. But the tube requires feelings. One reporter after another…one interview following another…all zap the reader with easy emotions. After a while, if you are still unmoved, you think there must be something wrong with you.

But it’s probably always been that way. The popular media stirs group feelings and mob emotions. The crowds at the arena…the thousands at the coliseum and those in the stalls at the theatre — they need heroes and villains, not complex ideas and ambiguity.

Of course, ideas can be made accessible by the masses. But only by stripping out the complexity and nuance, making them so barren and so remote from the whole story that they are rarely more than collective fantasies, shared as feelings…

The masses don’t want to think. They just feel. Every flack…and hack politician knows that feelings sell. Not ideas.

That’s why Ron Paul…an idea guy…is trailing Mitt Romney at such a distance.

The masses form their opinions…choose their candidates…and spend their money on the basis of feelings. Real thoughts are banished.

The presidential race is really little more than a contest to which line of guff most voters will take…that is, how they will feel about the candidates and their themes.

If you watch TV you’re tempted to believe that…

…the US was hit by some kind of economic firestorm. Maybe it was caused by Wall Street greed. Maybe the regulators made mistakes. Or maybe it was just a natural thing, the way things work.

Thanks to the wise decisions of its leaders, the US economy is now recovering. Europe is having a rougher time; its leaders are not fully in charge of the situation.

But even in America the damage was so severe that recovery will be difficult. More help from the federal government may be needed. Perhaps more legislation — targeted tax favors, aid to young people, more spending on education…and so forth.

When it comes to the US ‘recovery’…a typical ‘news’ consumer would also believe that the Fed plays a vital role too. Ben Bernanke looks like the kind of guy who might know something about economics. He was head of Princeton’s Economics Department after all. So, if the US recovery doesn’t continue, the Fed will probably put in more money.

Everybody knows that money is what makes the economy go!

But is it?

The only presidential candidate with his thinking cap on, says no.

The Financial Times allowed Ron Paul to voice his thoughts on central banks. They are “intellectually bankrupt,” he says.

His argument will be very familiar to Dear Readers:

The gist of it is that central banking is a fraud. Honest economists…and thoughtful people with real jobs…know that central planning is an ineffective way to add wealth. If you could get rich by printing money, every central bank on the planet would run the printing presses night and day.

But they don’t. Because it doesn’t work that way. You only know what real wealth is by allowing buyers and sellers to set prices. The prices tell you what things are worth…providing a measure of the goods and services that people actually want. Real money represents real savings. It — and the interest rates people ask for lending it out — tell investors how much capital is available, and at what price. You can print up all the pieces of green paper you want. It will only distort the picture, mislead investors, and cause them to misuse capital. The more central planning, the more mistakes.

The Fed determines the quantity of money available to the market…and the price of it (at least for short term loans). It creates “money” apparently out of nothing…that is, counterfeit money…money with no resources or savings behind it. Then, it dictates interest rates. Investors err; that is how they created the housing bubble in ’05-’07, for example.

And now the Fed is compounding its failures of the past…leading to even bigger errors…even bigger bubbles…and even bigger blow-ups.

“Printing unlimited amounts of money does not lead to unlimited prosperity,” says the congressman.



Bill Bonner

for Markets and Money

From the Archives…

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2012-05-04 – Greg Canavan

How the RBA’s Interest Rate Cuts Cause a Housing Bubble
2012-05-03 – Nick Hubble

How a Cashless Society Promotes Tyranny
2012-05-02 – Dan Denning

2012-05-01 – Dan Denning

Risky Investments in a Market Full of Conmen
2012-04-30 – Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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