[…] in 2008-2009 Bernanke did nearly let “it” happen again — a banking collapse, a depression, deflation — by bringing the U.S. financial system to its knees by roughly the same Fed policy adopted in the 1930s, followed by his blizzard of paper-money printing that has caused a dollar debasement unprecedented in U.S. history. The result has been a huge destruction of wealth, spreading fiscal chaos and stagflation as far as the eye can see.
How did Bernanke create this horrible morass? First, in 2006-2007 he deliberately inverted the Treasury yield curve, even while knowing it would cause a recession and credit-financial crisis. Second, he imposed on the reeling economy a $1.7 trillion flood of “quantitative easing” (QE), euphemistic for the hazardous policy of money-printing. His first policy caused economic stagnation, his second policy caused monetary inflation, and combined, his policies have generated “stagflation” — the corrosive mix last seen in the 1970s. It’s the direct opposite of the supply-side polices (pro-growth, sound-money) that made the 1980s and 1990s so prosperous.
How can we hold Bernanke accountable for this widespread mess? Consider first the economic stagnation. By training, Bernanke knew full well (and still knows) that an inverted Treasury yield curve — wherein the Fed deliberately keeps short-term interest rates above longer-term Treasury bond yields — invariably causes recessions and crises in the modern (fiat paper money) era.
He knows that an inverted yield curve severely and nearly instantly renders unprofitable most financial intermediation, which is the process of “borrowing short to lend long.” The normal case is for short-term borrowing yields to trade below long-term investment yields (an upward-sloped yield curve), which is profitable for credit intermediaries, given the positive yield margin. In contrast, the rarer case is for short-term rates to trade above long-term rates (an “inverted,” or downward-sloped yield curve), which is far less profitable or an outright loser for lenders, due to the negative yield margin.