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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012 - Morning Headlines

- Two days after angry mobs stormed the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing US Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, protesters have stormed the US embassy in Yemen (NBC News):

- Economists expect the Federal Reserve to undertake another bond-purchasing move in an attempt to stimulate the economy (Fox News):

- Fast food giant McDonald's has now started posting the calorie counts of all the food items on its menus (CNN):


  1. THe media is a disgrace. Byron York said it best. "At Romney presser in FL, every question (except one) is based on premise that Romney statement last night was a mistake…"

    1. Forgot this. You can't make this shit up.

      Video: CBS and NPR Reporter Plot to Insure Romney's Asked If He Regrets Obama Critique

      Nope, nothing to see here, right? F*** the liberal media. If Obama wins, Every American sheep out there is to blame.

  2. Good morning,

    One of the news articles you posted reminded me… I'm rather sure I've never seen anyone here say this, but I've seen it a fair amount of times in other places and it's always one of those things that bug me.

    The idea that the actions of the Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke have any involvement or influence from the Obama Administration is getting silly.

    Ben Bernanke is not only a South Carolina Republican, but he was appointed to the chair of the Federal Reserve by Bush. I’ve seen people call him a Democrat, a liberal, accuse him of being in Obama’ pocket, or being appointed by Obama, and everything in between; none of which are anything close to being true.

    The only single tie Obama has to Bernanke in any way, is refreshing his first 4-year term into a second 4-year term in 2010, which was in bipartisan approval through the Senate… As it usually is.

    Before him, Alan Greenspan served for 18 years across four different administrations, if that’s any indication of how little politics go into appointing Chairmen. In fact I don’t think there’s a single Chairman that has served only one term; this isn’t anything abnormal.

    And regardless of all of that, the Fed operates and makes decisions independently from any agenda of the serving administration or Congress, and is not an area effectively garnered for political influence or gain.

    All of that said it certainly is a hot button in politics, particularly in their decisions with monetary policy and quantitative easing. And while it’s perfectly fair and understandable to debate whether or not we need the Fed or how to improve it, it isn’t to try to tie decisions they make to influence from Obama/Congress or any other POTUS.

    1. RKen - Good morning! I hope you're well on this "almost Friday."

      I do agree - any attempt to tie the Fed to any administration is silly, and to me, when people do it, it's just another example of people squawking and talking without facts. As far as debate on the efficacy and need for a Fed, that's always an interesting debate. So in this, I think you're right... enough with the politicizing of the Fed. Many, as expected, will almost conspiracy theory this to death, but there is no proof of any link to an agenda at all.

      With regards to my feelings on the Fed, I actually haven't made up my mind yet. I've been studying econ since I was 15, and I still haven't picked a side on this issue. To start, I tend to be a strong free market economist, and my instincts tell me that we don't need a central bank (especially one in where the US Treasury keeps an account). I believe that interest rates should be allowed to float within the market, and currency fluctuations should flow at the pace of market forces as well. There is a divide in me, however, when it comes to this: how would we regulate monetary policy... if we need to? The big question there is "if we need to." In a perfect world, there would be no central banks, and there would be NO reason for a nation to regulate monetary policy. Monetary policy, interest rates, domestically and internationally, (and, of course, exchange rates) would be set at the behest of the open, free market. The value of currency would be a product of a nation's production, wealth, interest rates, etc. The big caveat: The fact that OTHER countries have central banks creates the "if we need to" argument. We wouldn't need to regulate monetary policy if other nations didn't have central banks. With the global economy being connected more and more (and more efficiently with increases in technology), the need for central banks SHOULD be non-existent. Without getting into the annals of central banks over time, and without getting into the theory of monetary policy or the impossible trinity (which includes the existence of central banks), if central banks didn't exist, the very things they DO exist to combat (bank runs, inflation, stable currency) WOULD be regulated with the interconnected global economy. The fact that central banks DO exist hurts us, and causes us to have one (of course there are other reasons, but my statement basically means we MUST have one because others now do). In the end, it's kind of a "when in Rome" argument. I'd love to see a world without central banks, but since they do exist elsewhere, we can't simply go without one. I hope that all makes sense :)

    2. Doing well here; hope the same to you!

      I actually don't even have much of anything more to add to the topic lol. We basically share the exact same point of view.

      In a world of numerous other central banks, it has become a sort of necessary evil to assist in keeping America stable.

      And likewise, I just believe that the Fed is more of a "if we need to" than a "whenever we can."

      The Fed shouldn't be attempting to step in and make dramatic changes in policy to resolve every monetary, economic, and financial issue the US faces; they should IMO be the last resort as opposed to leading the charge. For the most part that has been true throughout time, but recently it feels they've taken a far more proactive approach (which of course explains why they've had so much political heat).

      Have a good 'almost-Friday!'

    3. Look at that! An agreement... I think it's been a while.

      In addition to all this, one thing I think does exist is a lack of information. I've said this before: we have 18 year olds who have barely finished high school marching in the street as if they have Ph.Ds in economics, preaching anti-fed jargon while it seems like they don't know a thing about the Fed. I know that's a large generalization, but rarely in a person's life do they learn about the Federal Reserve.

      I wonder if that should be a poll question - Do you think the US should have a Federal Reserve? The down side is, that would be the poll question; people wouldn't see the cases you and I have made, for example, with regards to this issue. I guess my position is, for now... I'd prefer not to have it, but since everyone else is doing it, we must do it too.

      Of course, I don't know if I want to waste a poll question on this... so much is going on right now... I've definitely been drawing a blank on these recently.

  3. Hi All!

    Thanks for the explanations re: The Fed. I try to understand, but I remain a total dummy about all that.

    I have, however, read about the Wiemar Republic - which raises a red flag in my mind about them continuing to print money, willy nilly, without ANYTHING to back it up with. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't MORE dollars floating around DECREASE the value of the ones we already have? and isn't that the definition of inflation?

    I've also read/heard that they've bought up 61% of our OWN debt (monetized?), which doesn't sound good either.

    1. Dara: Have you ever seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption... there's a scene where Andy and Red are playing chess and Andy says "Chess, now there's a game of kings"... to which Red replies "and a total ****ing mystery."

      That's kind of how I feel about the fed. Though I do understand it through and through... it's still a mystery.

      You pretty much described probably the most widely accepted description of inflation. The value of anything typically declines when more of it is available. Inflation refers to money (mainly because inflation itself refers to the mechanism of prices and not the good itself). If apples became less scarce, they would costs less. If money becomes less scares (by over printing) for example... it costs less... eg it's worth less. I don't want to get all science-economic here, but yup... you got it.

      Monetizing our own debt (through a number of means)... purchasing it... (which, under inflation = purchasing it with less valuable dollars), on the surface, can be a bad thing. It might put out one fire (we simply purchase the debt, pay the debt holders off)... but we start another which is inflation. That's the dime's worth answer. I could talk econ allllllllll day :-)

    2. Thanks LME,

      I think I told you my skills are in the F and B industry... I can dress a formal dinner table to the nines - and build a mean Bloody Mary (from scratch), the fine art of our economic system... not so much.

      It's sad, I know :( but I make the time to read up on stuff! : )

  4. Sorry to move to another topic but Romney, who seems to love the taste of his foot, just came out with this gem yesterday:

    “As Americans, we should never feel the need to question who we are or what we stand for, whether it’s our strong commitment to family or whether we’re rounding up a group of innocent people, separating them from their friends and loved ones, and putting them into what are essentially overcrowded prisons because they happen to be of Japanese descent,”

    ummmmmm... Holy shit!!! This guy may be business saavy but he is a dope on the mic. This tells me alot about what he thinks of himself. Is there anyone here, besides me, who is constantly thinking of who they are or what they stand for? It's called evolution. To pick a position and refuse consideration of anything else is the worst kind of person. Mitt apparently belongs in that crowd. Is Mitt suggesting we round up the Muslims and never look back??? This is a hugely disturbing quote. WOW, just WOW!!!

  5. ooops... never mind, I just realized it was an article on the Onion... Now I feel dumb! I thought it was too bad to be said... I really feel like a jackass for posting that without checking it out first... stupid me!!!

    1. Okay now you owe Mitt Romney an apology :) <3

    2. I do... Sorry Mitt, I jumped the gun because I think you're an elitist, patronizing jerk... I've never been all that good at the apology thing. :)

      Damn you Onion!!!

    3. what do you mean by an elitist and patronizing? it soundslike you've caught on to the liberal's grasp. could you even say what you mean here?

    4. Yes, I think he is an arrogant man that is out of touch with the common person concerned more with creating/preserving tax cuts for wealthy business owners and further bloatiing a military the right seems to want to use as a toy (again, most people in the military are middle/lower class people). Also, he seems patronizing to me.

      Hope that helps.

  6. Whew! LOL. When my phone buzzed with this, I was about to say "where is the link for that?"

    Either way... do you have the Onion's link to it? They can be pretty funny. I'd love to check it out.


      Boy am I embarrassed!!!

    2. Ha, the Onion can be pretty funny lol.

      I was actually excited this past weekend, because I found a newspaper box near my house that is regularly stocked with a free edition of the weekly Onion newspaper. Spent a good hour with the lady splitting sides over it... might become a weekly tradition!

    3. I can't believe I fell for it. As I was reading it I was thinking "is this real?" and rather than check it out, I had to rush to judgement and to post... Lesson learned, I do feel a bit like an ass!!! We used to be able to delete posts but I couldn't find that option and thus, egg on the face! :)

      It is a funny paper though!

    4. Test Test Test

    5. It's me, LME... I'm testing the blog. I don't know where the heck the delete function went. I didn't change anything on the admin side. I'll try to get to the bottom of it ASAP. I apologize for the inconvenience.

  7. No inconvenience... it won't be the first time I made an ass out of myself!