Geography of a Horse Dreamer, Vernal pool walk on Lopez Bridge, Surfboard art, Little Saigon Stories, NWEAMO Electronic Music Festival
Various Authors 1 p.m., April 24
If you have ever doubted that Wall Street is thriving on Main Street's pain, think about today's (March 26) stock market action. Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke is manipulating stocks upward once again -- something he has been doing for several years. Whenever Bernanke, or the Fed itself, hints that the economy is weak and more liquidity may be needed, stocks leap. Over the weekend, Bill Gross of bond fund PIMCO said that the Fed might hint that it would launch another round of buying bonds to artificially drive down long term interest rates. The first two times the Fed had such programs, called QEI and QEII, stocks leapt, as they should when money gets easier. (Short rates are already at almost zero, and have been since 2008. The Fed says they will stay that low until 2014.)
This morning Bernanke said that the improvement in employment might not be sustained. Wall Street, already primed by Gross's remarks, responded: stocks are soaring. If the employment situation actually improved, the Fed could not longer feed Wall Street all this juice. So Wall Street prays that Main Street will continue in the doldrums. This Fed market manipulation is exacerbating one of our worst economic problems: the extremely uneven distribution of wealth and income. More than 90% of financial assets, including stocks, are owned by the richest 10%, and the top 1% own 38%. This madhouse creation of liquidity, in which foreign central banks are participating, will end very unhappily with either inflation or financial bubbles or both. When? No way to say. Personally, I have been buying stocks for some time. This will go on for awhile before the crash. I could be wrong, of course.