In his press conference today Fed Chairman Bernanke careened wildly between economic philosophies, leaving listeners with absolutely no clear conception of what the Chairman really believes. Perhaps there are no beliefs, just platitudes.
In particular, Bernanke can't seem to make up his mind weather monetary policy affects price levels. In his remarks, the Chairman stated emphatically that his ultra loose quantitative easing policy is not causing the prices of commodities to rise. But at the same time he stated firmly that QE is responsible for rising share prices on Wall Street. This would indicate that Bernanke does not see QE as a blunt economic instrument but as some sort of laser guided monetary munition that can target some prices while doing no harm to others.
More globally, Bernanke claimed that the Chinese could tamp down inflation by tightening the reigns of their own monetary policy. So in Bernanke's view, tight monetary policy can limit inflation in China, but loose policy can't create it in the United States?
These contradictions are at the heart of the mismanagement that is currently plaguing the U.S. economy.