Hindsight is 20/20. And that's what makes it so great. It allows us to chastise those who were wrong in the past.
Today, the Fed released the transcripts of its meetings in 2008, the year of the Great Financial Crisis That Fucked The World.
January 9, Richard Fisher, the head of the Dallas Fed:
[None] of the 30 C.E.O.'s to whom I talked, outside of housing, see the economy trending into negative territory. The see slower growth... None of them at this juncture—the cover of Newsweek notwithstanding, a great contra-indicator, which by the way shows 'the road to recession' on the issue that is about to come out—see us going into recession.
April 29, Fed Gov. Frederic Mishkin, thinking positive:
"When I look at where I was at the last FOMC meeting, there has really been a big change for me. I re-read the transcripts, because you always want to see what things sounded like, and I sounded so depressed then, as though I might take out a gun and blow my head off. That is the way it read. But my sunny, optimistic disposition is coming back. [Laughter] I think it is very possible that we will look back and say, particularly after the Bear Stearns episode, that we have turned the corner in terms of the financial disruption that we have just experienced."
September 16, Fed forecaster Dave Stockton figures the worst is over:
"I don't think we've seen a significant change in the basic outlook... We're still expecting a very gradual pickup in GDP growth over the next year."
October 7, Robert Rasche, standing in for St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard, says there's no need to be rash:
There's still a significant probability that any recession will be quite mild. We have acted pre-emptively, aggressively, and unilaterally since the beginning of the year against the risk of an economic slowdown. We can afford to be patient.
Needless to say, no one could afford to be patient, because everyone was broke for the next four years.
(To their credit Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen appear consistently less sunny than many of their colleagues in the transcripts. They were (more) right!)
[Read all the transcripts yourself, if you like, Photo: AP]