In a recent attempt to improve the public relations image of the Federal Reserve among “regular people,” New York Fed President William Dudley made the terrible mistake of holding a town hall meeting in Queens.
Unfortunately for Mr. Dudley, “regular people” are not nearly as stupid as he thinks they are and he is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. His attempt to improve Fed public relations has turned into a public relations disaster because a “regular person” was very easily able to understand how ridiculous it is to compare the value proposition offered by an iPad with the value proposition offered by basic necessities such as food and energy.
The direct quote from this insightful town hall participant was simply, “I can’t eat an iPad.” When the history is written of the unraveling of America’s empire, this may go down as one of the classic moments showing the root causes for why our empire began to fall apart.
Most people have heard the statement, unfairly attributed to Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat cake,” as a reference to what the peasants in France before their revolution should do if they don’t have any bread. This statement became symbolic of how disconnected French royalty had become from their version of what Fed leaders would call “regular people” today.
The end result of this disconnect in France is well documented and not pretty, especially for the royals who were mostly killed off by the peasants.
Hopefully we will be more civilized in how we handle our problems in America, but this should be a wakeup call to Bernanke, Geithner, Obama, and the leaders in Congress that their perspective on what is happening in this country is not shared by most of the “regular people” living here.
They see no inflation, and technically they may be correct. However, the real issue is not inflation or deflation, it stagnation and a declining standard of living for 99 percent of Americans.
The government cannot fix this problem, but leaders can stop making it worse by artificially inflating prices, regulating away jobs, killing small businesses, subsidizing big banks that create no value for people, encouraging large companies to move jobs overseas, raising taxes, and generally interfering in the natural process of economic development that would happen in our otherwise dynamic and great country.
In other words, the government should stop trying to control the economy, get out of the way, and let people do business.
The excuse offered by the socialists that lack of government intervention created our economic problems is as ridiculous as Mr. Dudley’s assertion that people being hit by rising prices for food and energy and stagnant or falling wages should feel better because the price of a $600 iPad hasn’t gone up in the past year.
Government cannot create jobs, wealth, or economic growth. It simply moves resources from one place to another, and it does this less efficiently than the private sector. This is not an opinion. It’s just reality. If Mr. Dudley disagrees, let him try to eat his iPad.