It may be 2012 in America but as far as Ben Bernanke is concerned, it may as well be 1930. That's because the Fed chief has donned his dove suit once again and poured doubt all over an economic comeback that's been in plain view to virtually everyone else.
While over-extended and Fed-addicted equity investors of the world take anything short of an iron clad promise that another round of easing is imminent as bad news, the big picture on Bernanke's plans remains unchanged.
"He's been very transparent and he will continue with accommodation until they see the forces of deflation completely extinguished." says Ed Dempsey, founder and CIO of Pension Partners. "I'm surprised that anyone is surprised at this."
As much as I, and a few hawkish FOMC members try to argue that the economy today is not the economy of 2008 and that the Fed's mindset and response should begin to reflect that, Dempsey won't engage in that particular debate, choosing instead to focus on the outcome, rather than discussing the risks and rewards of easy money.
"Bernanke is the nation's foremost scholar on the Depression," Dempsey asserts, and the last thing Bernanke will do is risk deflation by not being easy enough or accommodative enough.
"They've said they're okay being late. They know how to fix being late. Being late is inflation. They can't fix deflation," Dempsey surmises, which is part of why he's staying in the stock market and expecting big returns in the next nine months.
I, however, love debating the merits of this unprecedented policy of easy money and asset reflation and will do so until it is over and unwound. While the domestic banking sector has been stabilized and the S&P 500 reflated to pre-crisis levels, it's hard not to notice when Ed Lazear, the former Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, labels this "The Worst Economic Recovery In History".
Or when the Chinese Central Bank Governor lectures his American counterpart to be responsible with his low rate policy and aware that they risk triggering another global slowdown.
When you consider how far stocks have come lately and all the out-of-sync caution and ''too early to declare victory'' speeches that have been the core of Bernanke's recent message, a sell-off makes perfect sense. The Dow Jones Industrial Average may be 100 points cheaper, but as far as the Fed is concerned, they're staying pat.