Iceberg Ahead?

So the Federal Reserve has announced a third round of rank money printing “quantitative easing,” or QE III.  The Fed now has more QEs in its history than the House of Windsor. The Fed is going to print $40 billion more a month “indefinitely,” until job growth picks up.  As I’ve said before, the various QEs look more like they ought to be known as Titanic easing, as they threaten the value of the dollar on the iceberg of sinking consumer and business confidence.

Rush Limbaugh said this morning (I got to listen driving up the California coast from a fine evening in LA last might with the Friends of Ronald Reagan) that he thinks this is Ben Bernanke’s way of assisting Obama’s re-election.  Perhaps, but QE III won’t do much between now and election day (except goose the stock market a bit–see my previous reflections on this) to boost tangible economic growth and jobs.  I wonder if the Fed is seeing something not yet apparent to us mere mortals out in the hinterlands beyond the Beltway and Wall Street.  Are the banks still in worse shape than we thought?  (Friends of mine close to the banking scene tell me the big banks are still using lots of balance sheet tricks to disguise some of their significant weaknesses.)  Does the Fed anticipate an even worse economy next year because of the fiscal cliff, and is trying to get out ahead of it?  This doesn’t seem likely to end well.

Meanwhile, when is the Obama Administration going to apologize to the American people for its abject failure to stand up for American first principles?  Secretary Hillary Clinton’s renewed apology today for the fact that our free speech means someone might insult Islam is appalling.  We should be saying to the Islamic world: Grow up.  Any religion that can’t take criticism is unworthy of respect.  Do Mormons go on a rampage because of the Stone and Parker “Book of Mormon” play that mocks Mormonism?  Did any U.S. embassy issue an apology to Arab Christians for Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ,” which was, after all, partly funded by the U.S. government?  (In fact Serrano did get some death threats, but no embassies were sacked that I know of.)

Someone asked me in LA last night to compare this present moment to Reagan’s handling of the Iranian hostage crisis during the transition period after the election in 1980.  I recalled the joke that went around widely at the time (including on the “Arab Street”): What’s flat as a pancake and glows in the dark?  Iran after Reagan becomes president.  In his public statements, President-elect Reagan said that the United States should not negotiate with “barbarians.”  That was the term he used–“barbarians.”  I am guessing the word has been excised from the State Department’s lexicons under the current administration.

Machiavelli taught that it is better to be feared than loved.  Reagan knew that the United States would only be loved for its ideals and achievements if the rest of the world also feared our willingness to defend those ideals forcefully.  Posting unarmed Marines and apologizing for our First Amendment won’t cut it.


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