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Is the recession really over? Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says it is "very likely over," and he should know. Right?
Wrong. What he knows, and what he tells us, are "very likely" two different things. Read below for Dr. Gary North's commentary, from his members-only website, on the idea that the recession is over.
How Bernanke Goosed the Stock Market Yesterday, and How the Media Cooperated.
Sept. 16, 2009
Yesterday, Bernanke was widely quoted as saying that the recession is over.
Here is an example of a media report, from MarketWatch.
Sept. 15, 2009, 2:25 p.m. EDT · Recommend (9) · Post:
Bernanke declares 'recession is very likely over'
The news is pretty good, the author says Bernanke said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the recession has ended, at least based on the numbers.
"From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point," Bernanke told a conference at the Brookings Institution. But "it's still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time."
Bernanke added there is a risk that labor markets will remain weak through 2010 because growth will be too anemic to create jobs. Many economists now expect the labor market to recover slowly, he noted.
Hmmmm. That sounds vaguely familiar. So, I went to the Federal Reserve's site. I looked for a speech. There was one, dated September 15. I clicked. I was taken to a speech he delivered on August 21.
So, he delivered the same speech yesterday to the Brookings Institution, the document said.
I kept reading the MarketWatch summary. Sure enough, I found these words in the form of a live link. Read his prepared remarks.
I clicked it. Sure enough, it took me to the August 21 speech. Read the headlines.
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke
At the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Annual Economic Symposium, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Chairman Bernanke delivered the same remarks at the Brookings Institution, on September 15, 2009
August 21, 2009
Reflections on a Year of Crisis
It was a standard Bernanke speech: a long, boring survey of the past, which every knew about, filled with congratulations for the FED and the government for their wisdom in doubling the monetary base and running up a $1.6 trillion deficit.
So, where is the new information? He did not mention anything. His remarks, the article said, were basically the same as the previous speech.
He added a few words on the end of the recession. He offered no new data.
The investors still believe him. They still trust the FED. The general attitude is that if Bernanke says things are better -- excep for employment -- then things are OK. No big problem.
Commercial real estate? No mention. The next wave of liars' loans re-sets? No problem.
Meanwhile, a fleet of commercial ships sits nearly empty off the coast of Singapore. This fleet is larger than the combined navies of the United States and Great Britain.
The 'ghost fleet' near Singapore. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies
Simon Parry among the ships in southern Malaysia
Two container ships tied together in southern Malaysia, waiting for the next charter
'We don't understand why they are here. There are so many ships but no one seems to be on board,' said local fisherman Ah Wat
Cranes at Singapore Dock stand idle, waiting for work
The crews are gone.
It is so far off the beaten track that nobody ever really comes close, which is why these ships are here. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies.
So they have been quietly retired to this equatorial backwater, to be maintained only by a handful of bored sailors. The skeleton crews are left alone to fend off the ever-present threats of piracy and collisions in the congested waters as the hulls gather rust and seaweed at what should be their busiest time of year.
Here are the clunkers. There is no cash. Every ship represents a loss. An 80,000 ton ship rented for $50,000 a day a year ago. Today, it's $6,000. But these ships are not moving.
Santa will have a slow Christmas.
If the recession is ending, why are these ships sitting?
Well, said, Dr. North. If the economy was picking up even a little bit, we'd see this "ghost fleet" reducing in size. Instead, we'd be willing to bet this fleet is growing. Not sailing away!
We hope you have prepared because it's all too likely that things are going to get a lot worse before they really do begin to improve. You have to be prepared to survive on your own, in case there is a breakdown in The Division of Labor, or a breakdown in our just-in-time food delivery system.
It ain't over until it's over, folks.
Dr. "B" says, ain't no "likely" to it. It will be total chaos before long. The earth is changing, and you have to read from everywhere on the Internet to find out what is going on in cities all over the world, especially the water mains. They have never seen anything like it.
The earth is slip–sliding and breaking mains faster than crews can repair them. This is straining city resources at a time when cities don't have any resources to spare. What will happen, Dr. "B" asks, when the rocks start falling? By then, it will be too late for any government to do anything for its citizens.
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