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Ben Bernanke Pulls a Yogi Berra

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 2, 2013 8:04 AM |

When you come to a fork in the road . . . take it.

In the early years of the last decade, I had the pleasant experience of attending a dinner for a major client at which Yogi Berra was a guest speaker. As a lifelong baseball fan — and by the way,  how ’bout those Red Sox? — I looked forward to hearing Yogi regale us with legendary tales about the great Yankee teams.

He started his delivery by unequivocally stating, “I am not good at giving talks, so just go ahead and ask me some questions.” He entertained us with a slew of his famous non-sequiturs in fine fashion.

I thought of Yogi and that dinner when the Federal Reserve released its statement on the economy yesterday afternoon. (Do you notice a facial similarity between Ben and Yogi?) Having read Fed releases for the last thirty years, I am hard pressed to ever remember a statement as ambiguous as this  put out yesterday:

The Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes.

In so many words, Bernanke seemingly indicates he knows asset markets are in a bubble but the economy is not responding to or benefiting from his massive liquidity injections via quantitative easing. So what is the most powerful central banker in the world to do?

Pull a Yogi Berra . . . meaning when he comes to that proverbial fork in the road, which is now right in front of him, he plans on taking it.

Thanks for very little, Ben.

As we all sit here in the back seat of our American economy, just how confident do you feel in our driver?

I guess all I might say is, keep your seat belt buckled and as always . . . navigate accordingly.

Larry Doyle

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I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • coe

    I cannot help but recall the master of doublespeak, “The World’s Foremost Authority”, Professor Irwin Corey and his convoluted yet inescapably profound observations. I also happen to have used a quote in some of my writings, and it goes “Money and currency are very strange things, they keep on going up and down and nobody knows why”…this was credited to the Abbott of Tournai in the 1500’s- so 5 centuries later have we learned anything at all?…seems like Ben is crystal clear – we may move rates up or we may keep rates low, it just depends on stuff…seems perfectly logical to me

  • Andrew

    The problem with “navigate accordingly” is that with Ben, the compass no longer always points North.

    • LD

      Indeed. Good point.

      A wee bit of a problem, I should say.

      • Andrew

        Yes, that is the rub.

  • jim wells

    Larry, This particular nonsense comes after Professor Bernanke based his monetary policy on a theory of another Princeton Professor, Albert Einstein. QE 1, 2, 3 and Infinity clearly fit Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Jim Wells

  • Jay

    My favorite Yogi quote

    “Nobody goes to that resteraunt anymore,…. It’s too crowded”

    • JK

      Or maybe, “It’s deja vue, all over again.”

      • Tim Favero

        My favorite Yogi quote, when asked by a waitress in a pizzeria if Yogi wanted his pizza cut into four slices or eight, Yogi responded with “Better cut it into 4, I don’t think I could eat 8.”

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