In the wake of the FOMC’s decision Wednesday to ignore reality (and its own forecasts), the stock market dove yesterday. Inflation expectations, as approximated by the breakeven TIPS spread, also dove. And for the first time since March 2009, when the S&P 500 fell below 700, the implied breakeven TIPS spread on a one-year Treasury turned negative. I point this out just to illustrate the gravity of the current situation, not because there is a huge difference between the expectation of slightly positive inflation and slightly negative deflation.
Chairman Bernanke has been reduced to defending the indefensible. Paul Krugman properly castigated the FOMC’s abdication of responsibility this week. Scott Sumner believes that Bernanke’s heart is in the right place, but his hands are tied, and is therefore unable to do what he knows in his heart ought to be done. If Scott is right, then Bernanke has only one honorable course of action: to resign and to explain that he cannot continue to serve as Fed Chairman, presiding over, and complicit in, a policy that he knows is mistaken and leading us to disaster.