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Welcome to the "Wolf Creek Pass" School of Monetary Policy

I don’t know if you folks remember that hit ditty: a humorous tune about two truckers attempting to manhandle an out-of-control 1948 Peterbilt down the “other side” of Wolf Creek Pass – a death-taunting section of U.S. Highway 160 where the elevation drops a hefty 5,000 feet in a relatively short distance.

The song’s two characters – a truck driver named Earl and his brother, who’s his partner as well as the song’s narrator – are taking a flatbed load of chickens on a speedy trip down this winding, two-lane Colorado highway. After the narrator gives Earl the above-mentioned warning, the ancient semi’s brakes fail.

From there on down, the narrator tells us that the brothers’ trip “just wasn’t real pretty.” The truck careened around hairpins and switchbacks, and then raced at an uncontrolled 110 mph toward a tunnel with “clearance to the 12-foot line” – with chicken crates sadly “stacked to 13-9.”

The drivers and the runaway Peterbilt “went down and around and around and down ’til we run outta ground at the edge of town… and bashed into the side of the feed store – in downtown Pagosa Springs.”

Believe it or not, I started thinking about this funny old country tune the other night – right after I’d read a piece about QE3 and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

As zany as it first sounds, the parallels are striking.

  • Featured Story

    Mary Jo White: SEC Pick Compromised By Links to Wall Street

    Wall St. broken

    When President Barack Obama nominated Mary Jo White to be the next head of the SEC, he said he wanted someone who would be tough on Wall Street, but her past ties to many of the big banks will make that difficult, if not impossible.

    President Obama nominated White to be the next chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, emphasizing her storied background as a New York prosecutor in the 1990s.

    "She helped prosecute white-collar criminals and money launderers," the president said. "In the early 1990s, she brought down John Gotti, the head of the Gambino crime syndicate. You don't want to mess with Mary Jo."

    Getting less attention from President Obama was how White has spent the most recent decade - as a defense attorney for Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. There, she hasn't been going after Wall Street's transgressors - she's been defending them.

    Her former clients include former Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) CEO Ken Lewis, who was involved in a civil fraud suit over his company's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

    White has also defended JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) in several cases related to the 2008 financial crisis and News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS) in its phone-hacking scandal.

    White was a member of the legal team that helped Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) board member Rajat Gupta fight insider trading charges and has done work for Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS).

    "[She's been] Wall Street's protector-in-chief," former SEC investigator Gary Aguirre told The Wall Street Journal.

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