Defeating the informed consumer

Suffer the high-minded intelligentsia at the Federal Reserve, veritable Knights Templar of the financial universe, who struggled mightily to brace the gates of Wall Street against the barbarian onslaught of American consumers, those Wal*Mart Philistines who were too feeble-minded and innumerate to grasp the intellectually lofty arcana that was the synthetic CDO-backed housing bubble they unwittingly helped expand:

As top Federal Reserve officials debated whether there was a housing bubble and what to do about it, then-Chairman Alan Greenspan argued that the dissent should be kept secret so that the Fed wouldn’t lose control of the debate to people less well-informed than themselves.

“We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand,” Greenspan said, according to the transcripts of a March 2004 meeting.

Poor Alan Greenspan. What a battle royale he waged against the rabbling knaves!

Even Tim Geithner, then president of the New York Fed, raised concerns. “[T]he issue has been raised by [Federal Open Market Committee] Vice Chairman Geithner and others that our current policy stance may contribute to potential financial imbalances down the road,” then-Vice Chairman Ben Bernanke said, according to the transcript, before dismissing such concerns.

“Financial imbalances,” indeed. Imagine what might have happened had those “simpleton” consumers not been encouraged by the Cheerleader-in-Chief to go out and buy houses in galaxies far beyond their pay scale. Imagine what might have been had they not been targeted by predatory lenders and signed over their life savings (and their children’s) for homes worth, in reality, only a fraction of their price tags. Imagine what might have been if those noble, self-sacrificing investment banks hadn’t devised complex houses of cards built with those highly volatile mortgages. Imagine what might have happened had Alan Greenspan had the country’s best interests in mind instead of trying to turn the Fed into his own version of the Illuminati.

And still, this paternalistic, condescending fuckwit is the TradeMed’s go-to guy on all things Fed. I guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.