The Fed's Chaotic Delivery of Information Helps Nobody

Publish date:

By James Cramer

Can you imagine a war situation where every general in the


got to put in his two cents, publicly, in any forum of his choosing? Or can you picture the chaos that would be created in the legal world if the justices of the

Supreme Court

constantly contradicted each other in speeches every day about their different rulings?

Or how about a Presidential cabinet where each member publicly put out a discordant view each day, a view that may not have been vetted beforehand by the president?

Any one of these would make for an uncertain and less predictable world, one where decisions would be rendered meaningless and policy would be a joke.

Yet, every day

Federal Reserve

governors speak. In different tongues. With their own agendas. With no coherence or consistency. They are all over the tape, giving speeches that contradict one another. The anarchy makes forecasting Fed policy an impossible task.

What is the point of this self-imposed chaos? Why should these unelected officials be able to pop off at a moment's notice about which numbers are important and which ones don't matter? What is the need for a Fed Governor to say that we shouldn't focus on consumer price inflation, we should worry about wages, as one did yesterday after the close? Why can't these people keep their mouths shut?

Why can't the Federal Reserve Chairman rein these guys in? Why can't they let up a bit on the lecture circuit, or go about their business in a more off-the-record staff-like manner? What good does it do having them speak every day for quotation? It reminds me of the off-handed way that former Treasury Secretaries Bentsen and Brady used to approach things: just say anything that comes into your head, regardless of the consequences.

I am not saying that these governors shouldn't periodically give official updates of their views. Nor do I believe that the Fed should make it easier on those trying to invest in bonds and stocks. They should do whatever is best for the economy in the long run.

But I can't fathom what is to be gained by having a Fed Governor making a speech every day that may or may not contain official policy. What interest is served by a cacophony of Fed voices?

The Fed lives in a world of tremendous secrecy about its meetings. It releases cryptic notes a month after a meeting is over. We never know who votes for what.

Can't these guys extend some of that privacy to their daily miens? We'd all be better off if the cacophony turned into a once-a-month symphony orchestrated by Mr. Greenspan.

James Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman of

The Street.

His fund is long


. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback, emailed to