But Bernanke switched. He recognized that growth, not austerity, was the elixir. As a result, he's been providing our economy with the liquidity we need even as Congress and the president seem to be focused on doing the opposite.
Bernanke is allowing companies to refinance and grow their cash, but not while they can put it to work. That's because, as a cash-rich and confidence-poor society, we still don't have a climate conducive to growth.
But, other than Bernanke, what is the likelihood of all of those other things really going right? Have you noticed the total ineptitude in China? Have you noticed the corruption that is rampant there? Have you noticed that, despite that country's ability to steal U.S. jobs, pay people slave-like wages and pollute the whole world with noxious gases -- killing about a million of their own people each year -- China still can't grow its economy like it used to be able to do? China's crony capitalism is actually dirtier than its air.
Europe? These countries put in austerity because they were afraid their economies would go belly-up due to interest rates that had been heading too high. Now rates are plummeting and the leaders are in a position to let their economy grow -- to aid and nurture it. But the same people who ran it into the ground before are still in charge. What makes you think they will change their stripes? Did they get brain transplants?
As for the U.S.? Like it or not, the only real thing we have going for us, besides some awesome management teams and well-educated technologists, is this: For the first time in about 100 years, we are flush with natural resources to lower the cost of our means of production and put many millions to work.
But I am more convinced than ever that the president and Congress don't care at all about the energy revolution. The debate has been hijacked by those who think that fighting carbon at all costs is more important than putting people to work, becoming energy-independent, smashing OPEC, dropping the subsidies to corrupt regimes and cleaning the skies with natural gas. They have their biased anti-fossil-fuel professors, and their interest groups who want solar wind and ethanol, and these parties are much more powerful than the commonsense contingent.