The Federal Reserve as a Confidence Game: What They Were Saying in 2007
(Mises Daily) -- by Mark Thornton --
In February of 2004, I published an article entitled "Greenspam." The general lesson was not to listen to Greenspan's deceptive testimony. Delete it from your mind like spam email messages. Watch what he has done and what he is doing, in order to protect your wealth and capital. Discount anything you read about his testimony, except Congressmen Paul's questions and commentary.
This talk will be a follow up to that article. I will describe central banking as a confidence game.
The Federal Reserve plays a confidence game with us. A confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flimflam, hustle, scam, scheme, or swindle) is defined as an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. The victim is known as the mark, the trickster is called a confidence man, con man, or con artist, and any accomplices are known as shills. Confidence men exploit human characteristics such as greed, vanity, honesty, compassion, credulity, and naïveté. The common factor is that the mark relies on the good faith of the con artist.
Here I will concentrate on the Fed's basic confidence game of trying to gain and maintain our confidence in its system and getting us to not take proper precautions against the negative effects of its policies.
Inflation is surely a scam and part of the confidence game — printing up money and lowering the value of all dollar-denominated assets while simultaneously benefitting political friends and accomplices is surely a fraud that could be classified as a confidence game. This is even more true because when the people finally lose confidence in the Fed system and realize what the Fed has been doing, the game will be up, the dollar will go down, and the Fed will come to an end!
There are some more basic aspects of the fraudulent nature of the Fed that I will not address here. Is the Fed a "conspiracy"? This is an aspect that is probably addressed most fully by the G. Edward Griffin book, The Creature from Jekyll Island. Or is the Federal Reserve just a cover for a banking cartel? This question has been fully addressed in the works of Murray Rothbard.
We will set aside some other fraudulent issues with the Fed. Issues like, why hasn't the nation's gold supply been audited in decades? Why hasn't the Fed itself been properly audited? And has the Fed been manipulating the gold market or surreptitiously leasing out the nation's gold supply? I suppose all of these issues are related to the basic general con game, but they are not necessary to make our general point here today.
The basic focus here will be on the Fed's mission to instill confidence in us about the economy while simultaneously instilling confidence in us about the abilities of the Fed itself. The first mission is easy to see because Fed officials are almost always publically bullish and hardly ever publically bearish about the economy. The economy always looks good, if not great. If there are some problems, don't worry, the Fed will come to the rescue with truckloads of money, lower interest rates, and easy credit. If things were to get worse, which they won't, the Fed would be able to respond with monetary weapons of mass stimulation...
We can see that the Fed is a confidence game. Their public pronouncements, while heavily nuanced and hedged, uniformly present the American people with a rosy scenario of the economy, the future, and the ability of the Fed to manage the market. Ben Bernanke told Congress this week that we are in the early stages of an economic recovery. Of course, he has been saying that since the spring of 2009 (if not earlier).
These are the people who said that there was no housing bubble, that there was no danger of financial crisis, and then that a financial crisis would not impact the real economy. These are the same people who said they needed a multitrillion dollar bailout of the financial industry, or we would get severe trouble in the economy. They got their bailout, and we got the severe trouble anyways. It is time to bring this game, this confidence game, to an end...MORE...LINK
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