Saturday, July 09, 2011

Bernanke Makes Me Want to Wet My Pants

John Mauldin in a recent CNBC interview observed, ". . . if the market knew what Bernanke and the leadership of the central banks talked about after their third glass of wine, the market would wet its pants."

He took a lot of heat over that remark but he was right. If you take a look at the cold (very cold) and hard (very hard) facts about the employment situation which is tied ever so directly at the hip to the consumer spending situation upon which the manufacturing and services sectors rely, bringing us full circle back to jobs, or better said, the almost complete absence of new jobs, I wouldn't be surprised if Bernanke isn't wetting his pants these days.

If you're Helicopter Ben (or President Obama) these are the facts you can't deny just before shooting your latest "solution" to these "situations" through your whiskey prism:

- there were only 18,000 jobs created in June, the lowest since September 2010. (May was revised down by 29,000 jobs and April down another 15,000.) Let me summarize it for you -- there are no new jobs.

- Total employment fell by 445,000.

- Full-time employment is down by 0.5% in the last year, while part-time is up 3% and that's not because most of these 3% want to work part-time.

- The total number of unemployed rose to over 14 million. If you count discouraged workers who, according to government are no longer unemployed even though they would beg to differ, the total number rises to 20.6 million, up 483,000 last month.

- The average duration of unemployment rose to an all-time high.

- 44% of the unemployed have been looking for work for at least 6 months.

And, “[E]ven if you buy the White House’s argument that the $800 billion package created 3 million jobs, that works out to $266,000 per job. Taxing or borrowing $266,000 from the private sector to create a single job is simply not a cost effective way of putting America back to work. The long-term debt burden of that $266,000 swamps any benefit that the single job created might provide." (Larry Lindsey)

This is the kind of reality that will drive men to the bottle and based on the "solutions" provided thus far, they must be hitting it pretty hard, probably hiding half-pints of Old Crow in executive lavatories and bottom desk drawers.

Bernanke and Obama know they don't have any answers as evidenced by the fact that the same answers continue to hit the wall like Mr. Magoo playing Jai-Alai.

The real question is how long can they keep kicking the proverbial can down the road before the market wets its pants and brings down the whole house of cards?

I can visualize Bernanke putting the Old Crow to his lips, tilting his head back and sucking hard enough that his eyes roll back in his head until he gets his next big idea, which we'll call "QE 3" because that is what it will be.

And, like the market, knowing that makes me want to wet my pants, too.



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