I'm talking about U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke - otherwise known as "Helicopter Ben."
Bernanke got the nickname "Helicopter Ben" from a speech in 2002, in which he announced that deflation was a real worry (this was just when house prices were taking off) and that one possible solution would be to fly around the country dropping $100 bills from helicopters.
Strange as it sounds, that might actually have been a better approach than the one he ended up taking.
Attack From the SkySmall towns in the Midwest and the working poor of such downtrodden urban environments as Cleveland and Detroit could certainly use a visit from the kindly flying Santa Claus. At least those Americans would have put the money to good use.
But so far, Bernanke's helicopter has only hovered over Wall Street, and his generosity has had a negative effect on the U.S. economy as a result.
His first two rounds of quantitative easing had three major consequences:
- Higher inflation.
- Higher unemployment.
- And higher borrowing costs for average Americans.
U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased by just 1.3% in the second quarter - an indication that an already wobbly economic recovery could tip completely over in the second half of the year.
But if you think that means we'll get a reprieve from Helicopter Ben's razor-sharp rotors, you're wrong. To the contrary, he's gearing up for another flyover - a third round of Treasury purchases (QE3).