Published by WallStreetWeather.net
President Obama nominated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to a second term this morning. Speaking during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, the President displayed no emotion when he said Bernanke’s “bold action and outside-the-box thinking helped put the brakes on our economic freefall.” Bernanke looked just as enthusiastic, stating he is committed to work with the Fed, Congress and the Administration to “help provide a solid foundation for growth and prosperity in an environment of price stability.”
Although Bernanke could face opposition during his Senate confirmation hearing, my September 2007 prediction that Bernanke would not serve a second term as Fed Chairman will likely be proven wrong.
The New York Times reports President Obama “had decided four or five weeks ago” to re-appoint Bernanke. This corresponds to the time of the July 21 Solar Eclipse in Cancer that conjoined the Federal Reserve’s Neptune and opposed Pluto in the sector of the USA chart representing the economy and the financial system. Wall Street and most economists have been urging President Obama to re-appoint Bernanke as soon as possible as the Fed’s monetary policies fueled hopes (Neptune) the economy had been resurrected from the brink of death (Pluto).
Cancer and its ruler the Moon represent the public, and although the Fed’s policies are not directly helping most consumers, a rapidly rising stock market helps ease some of their losses and increases the public’s confidence that economic conditions are improving. The Fed’s policy of keeping interest rates low “for an extended period,” keeps the deficit lower to help the President pass healthcare reform and the other key items on the administration’s agenda.
Last week as Saturn in Virgo challenged Bernanke’s Sun in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Gemini, President Obama invited the Fed Chairman to the White House to discuss his reappointment. Saturn transiting a person’s natal Sun brings heavy responsibilities and increased demands in order to attain or stay on top in a career. Bernanke’s efforts to promote economic expansion have lived up to expectations (Jupiter). Jupiter in Aquarius making a favorable alignment to Bernanke’s Sun and Jupiter marks a time of career recognition and the opportunity to serve another term at the helm of the Federal Reserve. Jupiter’s energy helps to offset the rumblings of his critics who hold Bernanke accountable (Saturn in Virgo) for his role in enabling the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and then bailing out Wall Street at the taxpayer’s expense.
Jupiter expands and Saturn contracts. Jupiter transiting Bernanke’s natal Sun and Jupiter describe the Administration’s financial regulatory reform proposal that would expand the Fed’s powers to become the Systemic Risk Regulator in charge of all institutions that could pose a systemic risk to the financial system, giving the Fed the power to unwind these firms in a financial crisis. Saturn contracts by removing a few of the Fed’s current powers, most notably removing its ability to regulate consumer products. I wrote in September 2007 that Bernanke would “disagree with the new duties and structure of the Fed,” and Bernanke has made it clear he sides with Wall Street and opposes taking away the Fed’s ability to regulate consumer financial products. Now that he’s been re-appointed, it will be interesting to see if he maintains his opposition against the Administration’s plan.
I wrote that Mercury (news), Mars (action), and Pluto (secrets) forming a challenging alignment August 25-26 to the Fed’s Sun and Pluto “could bring news about or coming from the Federal Reserve and its Chairman.” While the stock market was by no means “spooked” about the news of Bernanke’s re-appointment today, a federal judge ruled the Fed “improperly withheld agency records”, and the Fed has five days to turn over documents disclosing the names of companies and the terms of the loans the Fed has issued under its 11 programs established during the financial crisis. The judge’s action is the result of a lawsuit filed last November by Bloomberg after the Fed refused to provide the information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
So why did President Obama nominate Bernanke while he was on vacation? Perhaps it was to deflect his criticism that he was taking a vacation. Venus ruling the chart for the time President Obama nominated Bernanke forming a stressful alignment to Pluto (debt) in Capricorn (economic contraction) shows the nomination’s timing was to help deflect news reports of the CBO’s release of its annual summer update of the budget and economic outlook. The CBO raised its estimate of the federal deficit from $7.1 trillion to $9 trillion over the next ten years, and also estimated the economy will contract 2.8% this year. Both estimates came in higher than the Administration had projected earlier this year.
Venus, Mercury, and Mars about to move into new signs confirm the decision to re-appoint Bernanke was decided a while ago. Venus conjoining the degree of the July 21 Solar Eclipse and the Federal Reserve’s Neptune today reinforces the decision was made around that time. It was on July 21 that Bernanke wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal outlining the Fed’s “exit strategy.” Neptune rules inflation, and Bernanke’s reluctance to employ an exit strategy is what probably caused President Obama to reluctantly re-appoint him. Bernanke’s progressed* Sun and Venus conjoining President Obama’s Aquarius Ascendant,** reflects that Bernanke was re-appointed to enhance the President’s public image and poll numbers and not to reward Bernanke.
The Moon in Pluto-ruled Scorpio (debt) in the sector of the chart representing the economy reflects the public’s concern about the Administration’s spending. An aspect between the Moon and Uranus which rules the sector of the chart representing the stock market, shows that Jupiter and Neptune in this sector can stem the public’s objections to the Administration’s agenda by creating an atmosphere of optimism and growth (Jupiter) that fosters the illusion (Neptune) the economy and the stock market are on the rebound.
The Ascendant of the chart for Bernanke’s nomination this morning conjoins the degree that Mercury will turn retrograde*** on September 7 which in turn conjoins the September 29, 2008 Libra New Moon. All of the events that led to the creation of the TARP, the Fed’s lending programs and undisclosed contractual agreements with banks and their counterparties will come under review.
The financial crisis has already radically revamped the Fed’s purpose and scope. Financial regulatory reform will certainly transform the duties and structure of the Federal Reserve and its Chairman.
*A mathematical calculation that moves the planets forward in time as a method of prediction.
**The Ascendant represents the zodiac sign rising on the eastern horizon at the time of the announcement.
***Planets do not really move backwards but appear to from Earth’s vantage point.
Obama Appoints Bernanke: August 25, 2009 8:55 AM EDT Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Ben Bernanke: December 13, 1953 time unknown Augusta, GA
Federal Reserve: December 23, 1913 6:02 PM EST Washington, DC
USA: July 4, 1776 5:10 PM Philadelphia, PA
President Obama: August 4, 1961 7:24 PM AHST Honolulu, HI