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The Stock Market, The Sopranos, and My Crazy Dream About the US Fed


With the death of James Gandolfini in the news, my troubled subconscious mind merged two of its preoccupations. Up for some dream analysis?

My dream then circled to the famed Bada Bing in New Jersey. Tony Soprano lumbered into the back room that constituted his office. Already waiting for him and seated at the table were Silvio, Paulie ,and a visibly shaken Janet Yellen. Tony got right to the point as only he can. He turned to Yellen and said, "Where is he [referring to Bernanke]?" Janet said, "I do not know exactly. I have not spoken with him yet today." Tony retorted, "Well, let me tell you something. I want you to pick up your pretty little phone and get that [expletive] on right now!"

At that point, Janet fumbled for her phone. Silvio was nervously tapping his fingers, his head pointed down with that one-of-a-kind countenance, replete with the frown and glare. Paulie then turned to Tony and said, "You know, T., money aside, we could have some fun with this." Tony snarled, "Oh yeah, Paulie, how's that?" Paulie replied, "Bigger things could come of this. You know, I've been doing some reading on this stuff. This 'Fed Speak' is really controlling things. It's perfect for us. It controls the markets. The way I see it, we can double down and then just have these academics, like our pretty little friend here, just start talking the way we want them to." Tony was now enraged and said, "You know what, Paulie, you should be thinking about the construction contract up for grabs in Newark and our waste management issues in Orange. What you're going to do is help Miss Yellen here locate this Bernanke guy and set this straight. One thing I do know -- aren't you supposed to get your investment back eventually in a bond? Well, you and Sil are going to get my money back with a little juice for the house!"

My vivid subconscious mind then circled back to the dingy Motel 8. Bernanke and Kocherlakota were seated slumped over at a tiny table with two glasses tipped over. All the while, Hilsenrath was still struggling in the corner trying to speak, but he was quickly realizing his efforts at that moment were in vain. Suddenly, there was a harsh knock -- more like pounding -- on the door. Bernanke raised his foggy head and signaled to Kocherlakota to check it out. Kocherlakota took a peep, then looked back at Bernanke and said, "We have some visitors. It's 'them.'" Bernanke made a feeble hand gesture, exasperated, and said, "Let them in."

Paulie and Silvio entered the motel room, introduced themselves, and politely asked if they could sit down. Silvio then turned to Bernanke and said, "You know why we're here?" He replied, "I have an idea." Silvio then said, "Tony is obviously not happy; none of us are. We may not know much about this 'money policy' [expletive], but one thing we do know is that we're down a lot of money today." Paulie then jumped in capriciously, saying, "From what I understand, these markets are pumped up on your words and all the investors out there are like the junkies we deal with, buying and selling on your every move. Is that right?"

Bernanke tried to take off his academic hat and relate in the vernacular. "It's a bit more complicated than that," he began. "You see, this economy is still in a pretty bad way. We saved it with no damn help from Washington. They're part of this, too, you know." Silvio then interrupted and said, "This, you know, economic stuff is way over my head. Let's cut to the chase. You screwed up, Mr. Bernanke, and my boss is not happy! So this is simple: You're going to give us back the money we invested in these instruments. And on top of that, you're going to pay us 12% for our time."

There was again an awkward moment of silence until Bernanke finally replied, "I do not have that kind of money, at least not on me. You guys have to realize that this is much bigger than you!" He then turned to Kocherlakota and said, " But there's another way out of this. Get me Fisher [Dallas Fed President] and Dudley [NY Fed President] on the phone. Tell them, 'Broken arrow.' Tell them to 'release the hounds.' I need them. We need them. I cannot retract myself." Kocherlakota replied, "Okay, let me dial them up. They will have the perfect opportunity next week and markets will not expect them to defend QE."

After this, I woke up. My mind went blank. I then realized I had to pack for the Cape and be at the office by 6:30 a.m. I just thought this dream really summed up where we have been and what's transpired, namely in regards to "Fed speak," and it also pays homage to the passing of James Gandolfini.
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