July 24, 2024

Inflation Is “Transitory” – More Nonsense From Bernanke And A Buy Signal For Gold

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at a conference of international bankers in Atlanta today, stated that “the recent increase in inflation will prove transitory.”   Citing the recent decline in commodity prices as an indication that future inflation will be subdued, Bernanke said the Fed will keep inflation under control “using whatever actions are necessary.”

It’s been awhile since a senior U.S. official had the audacity to assert official U.S. policy that is in direct contradiction to actual U.S. actions.   In June 2009, US Secretary Treasurer Tim Geithner told an audience of Chinese students in Beijing that the Obama administration would follow “very disciplined”  spending to reduce massive U.S. budget deficits.  In addition, Geithner stated that “We believe in a strong dollar.”

Finally, in response to concerns by Chinese economists who believed that holding U.S. debt was “risky, Geithner stated that “Chinese assets are very safe.” This final remark drew loud laughter from the audience of Chinese students.

The Chinese are not laughing today as the dollar has plunged in value and U.S. deficits have increased by trillions of dollars since 2009.

As the U.S. dollar continues its downward spiral, the Chinese have initiated actions to diversity out of U.S. dollars and into more stable stores of value by making large investments in natural resources and purchasing stakes in businesses worldwide.  The Chinese were not fooled in 2009 and Bernanke is not fooling anyone today by stating that inflation is transitory.

Bernanke was fortunate that his audience consisted of polite bankers who managed to subdue any overt laughter.  Inflation has been a continual event under our fiat monetary system.   Since officially coming off the gold standard in 1973, the dollar has seen a relentless loss of its value due to inflation and Bernanke knows it.

Bernanke also knows that his worse enemy is deflation which would make the repayment of debts impossible and propel the U.S. into a deep depression.  The U.S. cannot resolve its massive debt and unfunded spending commitments by either economic growth or increased taxation.  The only option left is inflation, which steals wealth by destroying purchasing power, but also allows debts to be repaid using debased dollars.   The Federal Reserve has consistently employed inflationary policies as shown by the BLS chart below.

Even as Bernanke was giving solemn assertions that the Fed would be vigilant in protecting the value of the dollar, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, said that the Fed should establish a goal of 2% inflation as an “explicit numerical objective.”  Sorry Dennis, we are already way past 2% inflation.  An inflation rate of 2% may not ring alarm bells to the American public, but a 2% inflation rate equates to a whopping 18% loss of purchasing power over 10 years.

Despite Bernanke’s duplicitous assertion that the Fed will contain inflation “using whatever actions are necessary”, his greatest fear remains deflation. At the Fed’s 2010 summer meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bernanke said the Fed would be “proactive” in preventing deflation and that  “The Federal Open Market Committee will strongly resist deviations from price stability in the downward direction.”

The relentless rise in the price of gold directly reflects the dollar debasement policies of the Federal Reserve.  Today’s statements by both Bernanke and Lockhart constitute a long term buy signal for gold investors.