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Commentary

bMighty vs. Bernanke - Rate Cut Edition

OK, so let's get this straight. Mr. Bernanke's Federal Reserve - in concert with central banks around the world -- together took the extraordinary step of cutting global interest rates by half a percentage point. And the reaction is that the market dropped 189 points instead of 508 points like it did yesterday.
OK, so let's get this straight. Mr. Bernanke's Federal Reserve - in concert with central banks around the world -- together took the extraordinary step of cutting global interest rates by half a percentage point. And the reaction is that the market dropped 189 points instead of 508 points like it did yesterday.Hoo boy, The rANT is starting to get concerned. Sure, at one point stocks were up some 200 points, but as we all know, it's the score at the end of the game that counts.

You do the math. With current US rates at 1.5%, there's not a lot of ammo left in Bernanke's rate-cut canon. More to the point, the shots don't seem to have much effect in the face of slumping retail sales and empty malls. The fact that the Tokyo market had its worst day since the 1987 -- plummeting more than 9% -- certainly didn't help.

And what about those pesky credit markets? According to the New York Times:

Yields fell on long-term Treasury bills, a sign that investors were feeling more comfortable about moving out of safe havens. But there were other signs that the strains in the credit markets had refused to abate. Short-term Treasury yields fell again, and borrowing rates for interbank loans and commercial paper rose overnight. It is still difficult for businesses and municipalities to find sources of critical short-term financing.

Hey, The rANT gives Bernanke credit for trying -- at least this time. But we're thinking that the Fed may be turning into that guy who knows he's gotta break up with his girlfriend but doesn't want to be too harsh and ends up dragging out the pain for months.

Maybe what we really need to do is to let this thing play out. You know, let the companies that are gonna fail, fail. Let the worthless loans be worthless. And then step in quickly and start picking up the pieces and getting things going again.

That may be crazy talk -- The rANT specializes in that -- but it seems clear that the current plan of doling out bits of help that the markets quickly discount as too little too late doesn't seem to be working out so well.

Anybody got a better plan?

More From bMighty: Financial Crisis Survival Kit