bank rates

Savers, We’re On Our Own

The political parties are not going to rescue us from low interest rates.Now I know how a soldier on a suicide mission feels.

Ben Bernanke’s news conference last week, calling on savers to sacrifice even more so the value of stocks and real estate could be propped up, certainly made me think that’s what I’m on.

No request for volunteers: He simply ordered us over the top.

And there’s no one that’s going to stop him. After all, the presidential campaign has offered us little hope for change.

I’d planned to follow my post about Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech by discussing analysts’ arguments that additional monetary policy easing is self-defeating.

But, with the Fed doubling down, extending its zero interest rate forecast to “at least mid-2015” and undertaking massive agency mortgage-backed securities purchases, why bother?

A year ago, I posted a piece on a sister website under the headline “It seems we’re stuck with Bernanke and his low interest rates.”

I concluded that existing laws wouldn’t support the chairman’s ouster by any president, or impeachment by Congress, before his term ends in January 2014.

Now, of course, we have the elections coming up.

Do they offer savers hope our laws can be changed and our mission called off?

Personally, I’m keeping my body armor on.

I’ve found nothing helpful in the Democratic Party platform. The party, in fact, seems unaware that we even have a monetary policy.

The Republican Party platform talks about inflation, asserting that “the inflation tax … punishes those who save, transfers wealth from Main Street to Wall Street and has grave implications for seniors living on fixed incomes.”

OK, but how about mentioning that the Fed’s prolonged interest rate manipulation has devastated investment incomes? reports that Mitt Romney noted (at a fundraiser): “People who are living on fixed incomes don’t see much interest income anymore.”

This seems a safe enough statement — one he won’t have to walk back or flip-flop on.

The platform’s only suggestions to reign in the Fed are audits and a commission to revisit the gold standard.

Republicans could have said something at least mildly supportive of the key provision of the Sound Dollar Act, introduced by their own Kevin Brady — the repeal of the Fed’s “maximum employment” mandate.

That would take away Bernanke’s anti-saver toolbox.

Sadly, I think we savers are on our own for now.

And maybe forever.

Because, despite the projections of various Fed officials that rates will return to normal levels in the “longer run,” it’s beginning to feel like our suicide mission will continue until … well, no saver is left standing.

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