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Janet Yellen: False Prophet of Prosperity

Janet Yellen: False Prophet of Prosperity

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently predicted that, thanks to the regulations implemented after the 2008 market meltdown, America would not experience another economic crisis “in our lifetimes.” Yellen’s statement should send shivers down our spines, as there are few more reliable signals of an impending recession, or worse, than when so-called “experts” proclaim that we are in an era of unending prosperity.

For instance, in the years leading up to the 2008 market meltdown, then-Fed Chair Ben Bernanke repeatedly denied the existence of a housing bubble. In February 2007, Bernanke not only denied that “sluggishness” in the housing market would affect the general economy, but predicted that the economy would expand in 2007 and 2008. Of course, instead of years of economic growth, 2007 and 2008 were marked by a market meltdown whose effects are still being felt.

Yellen’s happy talk ignores a number of signs that the economy is on the verge of another crisis. In recent months, the US has experienced a decline in economic growth and the value of the dollar. The only economic statistic showing a positive trend is the unemployment rate — and that is only because the official unemployment rate does not count those who have given up looking for work. The real unemployment rate is at least 50 percent higher than the manipulated “official” rate.

A recent Treasury Department report’s called for rolling back of bank regulations could further destabilize the economy. This seems counterintuitive, as rolling back regulations usually contributes to economic growth. However, rolling back bank regulations without ending subsidies like deposit insurance that create a moral hazard that incentivizes banks to engage in risky business practices could cause banks to resume the unsound lending practices that were a major contributor to the growth, and collapse, of the housing bubble.

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