December 19, 2008

How Bernanke Stole Christmas

By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A. (With Apologies to Dr. Seuss)
December 2008

Every Who Down in Who-ville Liked Christmas a lot
But Bernanke, who lived just north of Who-ville, thought it might be for naught.

Bernanke feared for Christmas, and the whole shopping season.
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that interest rates weren’t adjusted just right.
It could be, perhaps, that banks were leveraged too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his brain was under Keynesian thrall.

But whichever of these reasons you may choose,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, fretting for Whos,
Staring down from the Fed with a sour, Bernanke frown,
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath,
Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.

“And they’re hanging their stockings! He snarled with a sneer,
“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”
Then he growled, with his Fed fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find some way to keep Christmas cash coming!”

For tomorrow, he knew, all the Who girls and boys,
Would wake bright and early and rush for their toys!
And finding none there—Oh the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

Then the Whos, young and old, would expect a great feast.
And they’d feast! And they’d feast!
And they’d feast! Feast! Feast! Feast!
But this year there would be no Who-pudding, and no rare Who-roast beast.
Which was a thought poor Bernanke couldn’t stand in the least!

And then they’d do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells tinkling
They’d stand hand-in-hand. And the Whos would start thinking.

They’d march and they’d protest!
And they’d chant! Chant! Chant! Chant!
And the more Bernanke thought of this Who Christmas Chanting
The more Bernanke thought, “I must stop this Who ranting!
“Why for 45 years we’ve made fiat work now!
I Must keep Christmas cash flowing!
. . . But how?

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
Got a wonderful, awful idea!

“I know just what to do!” Bernanke laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great Fed-ish trick!
“With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like Saint Nick!”

“All I need is a reindeer . . .”
Bernanke looked around.
But since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop old Ben?
No! Bernanke simply said,
“If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!”
So he called his friend Hank. Then he took some red thread
And he tied a big horn on top of his head.

Then he fired up the printing presses.
He had lots of money to make,
Loaded the sleigh with excesses
And he hitched up old Hank.

Then Bernanke said, “Giddyap!”
And the sleigh started down
Toward the homes where the Whos
Lay a-snooze in their town.

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
The Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
When he came to the first failing bank in the square.
“This is stop number one,” The old Bernanke Claus hissed
And he climbed to the roof, bloated bags in his fist.

Then he slid down the chimney. It looked rather grimy.
But if Santa could do it, then so could Bernanke.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue
Where bad mortgage backed debt all sat in a row.
“These derivatives,” he grinned, “are the first things to go!”

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most like a snake,
Around the whole town, and financed each big bank’s mistakes.
Fannie and Freddie, Bear Sterns, and Citi
TARP, AIG, GE and more Citi.
To bad business he gave billions, oh very nimbly,
But as for good business, they didn’t get any.

To get the money flowing he was bound to inflate,
So he even brought treasuries down to negative interest rates.
Printing money by trillions he nearly doubled the cash.
Just think of Zimbabwe; it wouldn’t be rash.

Then he stuffed all the money down the chimneys with gusto
“And NOW!” grinned Bernanke, “I’ll fix up the Autos.”

And then Bernanke flew to Detroit, with more money to drop
When he heard a small sound say “The Senate said ‘Stop.’”
He turned around fast, and he saw to his gall
Congressman Ron Paul, who was ready to brawl.

Bernanke had been caught by this noble Who master
Who’d got out of bed to see what was the clatter.
He stared at Bernanke and said, “Santy Claus, why,
“Why are you devaluing our dollar and savings? Why?”

But, you know that Bernanke was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
“Inflation’s not bad,” the fake Santy Claus lied,
“It’s just that this level has never been tried.
“So I’ll inflate until we can create a new bubble.
“Then our economy will be back to boom on the double.”

But his fib fooled no one. Then he grabbed Paul by the head
And he trussed him and gagged him and tossed him back in bed.
And when Paul was disposed of, with his Constitution too,
He turned back to Detroit and forced the money through.

But inflation burned through the Whos’ savings like fire.
They were poorer, not richer, as he left, the old liar.
Working longer and harder before they could retire.

And the only speck of money
Left to the average Who house
Were accounts that were even too small to buy food for a mouse.

Then the same thing befell all the Whos’ houses
Leaving accounts much too small to feed the other Whos’ mouses.

It was a quarter past dawn . . .
All the Whos, still a-bed
All the Whos, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their final stimulus package! The checks! All indebting!
For the poor! And the Middle Class! For Change! What trappings!

80 trillion feet up! Up the side of Mount Debt-it,
He rode to overlook Who-ville, on their heads to dump it.
“Hal-loo to the Whos!” he was Fed-ishly humming.
“They’re finding out now that Christmas cash is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouth will hang open a minute or two
“Then all the Whos down in Who-vill will all cry YOO-HOO!”

“That’s a noise,” grinned Bernanke,
“That I simply must hear!”
So he paused. And Bernanke put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow . . .

But the sound wasn’t happy!
Why, this sound sounded angry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS angry, VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville!
Bernanke popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, through distortions great and small,
Was chanting! Not one had any presents at all!
He HADN’T kept Christmas cash flowing!
Somehow or other, it froze, though how, he did not know.

And Bernanke, with his Fed-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
“It froze despite nationalizing! It froze despite rate cutting!
“It froze despite bailouts, quantitative easing, and printing!”
And he puzzled for hours, ‘till his puzzler was sore.
Then Bernanke thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe our economy,” he thought, “doesn’t come from just a store.
“Maybe the economy . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”

And what happened then?
Well, in Who-ville they say
That Bernanke read von Misses and Hayek that day!
And the minute he saw true capitalism’s light,
He whizzed back to town to set all to right.
He stopped all the bailouts and ended fiat money!
And he, he himself, Bernanke, restored a land of milk and honey.

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