It Begins: Council On Foreign Relations Proposes That "Central Banks Should Hand Consumers Cash Directly"
... A broad-based tax cut, for example, accommodated by a program of open-market purchases to alleviate any tendency for interest rates to increase, would almost certainly be an effective stimulant to consumption and hence to prices. Even if households decided not to increase consumption but instead re-balanced their portfolios by using their extra cash to acquire real and financial assets, the resulting increase in asset values would lower the cost of capital and improve the balance sheet positions of potential borrowers. A money-financed tax cut is essentially equivalent to Milton Friedman's famous "helicopter drop" of money
- Ben Bernanke, Deflation: Making Sure "It" Doesn't Happen Here, November 21, 2002
A year ago, when it became abundantly clear that all of the Fed's attempts to boost the economy have failed, leading instead to a record divergence between the "1%" who were benefiting from the Fed's aritficial inflation of financial assets, and everyone else (a topic that would become one of the most discussed issues of 2014) and with no help coming from a hopelessly broken Congress (who can forget the infamous plea by a desperate Wall Street lobby-funding recipient "Get to work Mr. Chariman"), we wrote that "Bernanke's Helicopter Is Warming Up."
The reasoning was very simple: in a country (and world) drowning with debt, there are only two options to extinguish said debt: inflate it away or default. Anything else is kicking the can while making the problem even worse. Because while the Fed has been successful at recreating the world's biggest asset bubble (in history), it has failed to stimulate broad, "benign" demand-pull inflation as the trickle down effects of its "wealth effect" have failed to materialize 6 years after the launch of the Fed's unconventional monetary policies.
In other words, a world stuck in the last phase before complete Keynesian collapse, had no choice but to gamble "all in" with the last and only bluff it had left before admitting the economic system it had labored under, one which has borrowed so extensively from the future to fund the present that there is no future left, has failed.
Are Political Winds Turning Against the Fed?
The popular view concerning the Fed is that it is apolitical. Anyone who considers the timing of the Fed’s actions knows this is false. However, for the vast majority of Americans, including financial professionals, the Fed is thought to be an apolitical entity focusing exclusively on economic and financial matters.
The first indication that this was inaccurate occurred during Bernanke’s reappointment as Fed Chairman in 2009. The media tried to claim that Bernanke was the savior of capitalism, but the fact of the matter was that there was strong opposition to his re-appointment. After all, Bernanke had not only missed the crisis but had in fact repeatedly stated it was contained.
From a competence perspective, Bernanke should not have been reappointed. He had an abysmal track record and had in fact allowed the entire financial system to nearly implode. Small wonder then that numerous members of Congress were against his reappointment.
During this period, an intense lobbying effort was made on Bernanke’s behalf. Lost amidst the bustle of articles concerning this situation was the following tidbit: