Let the good times roll

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By Jeffry Gardner

We’re out of the woods. We’re out of the dark. We’re into the light.
Nope, we’re not in Kansas anymore. However, there is a Wizard of Oz-like feel to remarks made by Mark C. Snead, an energy economist from the Denver office of our Federal Reserve Bank.
Speaking to the CFA Society of New Mexico, Snead reportedly said New Mexico and other oil and gas producing states were on the verge of good times.  
For its part, the Federal Reserve’s role in the collapse is hard to pinpoint, but it’s safe to assume that while some banks failed entirely, others, with strong ties to the Federal Reserve, were “bailed out” and became even more powerful. Not by the Federal Reserve, per se. “Saving” our economy was more like a game of “find the Queen” on a Manhattan street corner. The only thing we can honestly say is that the American taxpayers failed to find the Queen. So we had to finance bailouts and TARP funds and AIG bonuses...  We’re still not sure what we have to show for it.
Ben Bernanke is the Federal Reserve chairman. It was Bernanke who moved to declare the United States out of our recession in June, 2009. The Federal Reserve announced that New Mexico was bright and bubbly again in July of 2010.
These pronouncements surprised many Americans, namely the just under 10 percent who are unemployed (officially) and the estimated 5 to 6 percent more who aren’t on the books. Here in the Land of Enchantment approximately 50,000 jobs disappeared during the official recession.
But now it’s over and jobs are flooding back into the state. I wish. Anyway, printed reports allowed that Snead painted a very bright picture for our state, all based on the coming success of our oil and gas industry. The same industry the Richardson administration, working in concert with the state’s Environmental Improvement Panel, slapped down with “cap and trade” regulations in November of last year.
Recently Bernanke again told Congress that inflation isn’t a threat – despite the Treasury flooding the world with more than a trillion dollars over the past 24 months or so. I don’t know about you, but I want to live in Bernanke and Snead’s world. Instead, I’m a single father raising two sons, and, as fate would have it, said pesky sons like to eat and wear clothes. The oldest drives now, too. New Mexico wants him insured, and his very old Ford tank requires gasoline.
In Oz, of course, food, clothes, gasoline, and insurance aren’t needed.   
Sadly, in New Mexico, gasoline is now over $3 a gallon – a steady rise of more than 40 cents since October 2010. Picked up a loaf of bread lately? Purchased a 12-ounce “pound” of coffee? Dozen eggs? And then there is the price of meat.
A decade ago, the famous shopping cart filled with such items was used to determine whether or not prices were rising. Inflating, as it were. Today, when discussing inflation, the price of gasoline and the five food groups aren’t added into the equation. “Craziness,” you say. Absolutely. Of course, it’s craziness brought on by our electing the people we elect and allowing them to create another world. Their world. Oz.
So, as prices steadily rise, unemployment remains high, the housing market stays stagnant, please remember two things: Happy days are here again. And ignore that man behind the curtain.

Jeffry Gardner
NM News Services