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Bernankenstein's Monster

lene: What in the Fed’s creation gives it the power to manipulate the stock market? That wasn’t one of its dual mandates (maximum employment and price stability). Isn’t that beyond its scope? Lee: Of course, but QE2 was a direct manipulation of the stock market. Ilene: So the Fed knew the money they gave to the Primary Dealers would end up in the stock market. Do they have an agreement with Goldman Sachs, like “hey we’re going to print you this money and we want you to buy stocks?” Lee: Look, Brian Sack, the head trader for the Fed, sits down with the Primary Dealer traders every morning before the NY markets open, and they have a conference call. Every morning. The Fed makes no secret of this, it’s all on the NY Fed website, the “Fed points.” They describe the whole thing. They discuss the dealers’ “positions and what their financing needs are”, but that’s code. The Fed decides what it wants, and the PDs execute the Fed’s wishes. So while government securities are usually the Fed’s focus, the dealers can trade whatever they want. Bernanke made it absolutely clear that stocks were his focus in that November 4 editorial in the Washington post. Ilene: Even though manipulating stocks is not a legitimate focus of the Fed? Lee: That’s what they get away with. The mainstream views pushing stocks higher as a legitimate policy. People want the stock market higher. But they don’t want to see oil prices over $100 a barrel, and gas prices over $4 a gallon, they don’t want that. The Fed does not control what the dealers do with the money, they can only make their wishes clear. The Fed can make it difficult for the dealers, and now they are, because they finally got fed up with the commodity speculation. But the Fed does not control what Goldman Sachs does completely. In fact, it might be the other way around. There’s clearly collusion, it’s no secret.

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