BUSINESS
04/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ben Bernanke Got Punk'd

Yesterday's fivefold increase in JPMorgan's (NYSE: JPM) bidding price for the Al Capone vault that Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) has become is as shocking as the original $2 a share cold shower that greeted the market a week ago. But this time, it's a slap in the face of the Fed-fueled buyout that Ben Bernanke helped orchestrate between JPMorgan and Bear Stearns by gnawing away at the risk.

So if you notice that one of Bernanke's cheeks is a richer red than the other, it's not because he's half-blushing, or caught a spring training baseball game where the sun only sizzled half of his face. He got slapped. He got Punk'd. If he missed the hidden cameras and the B-grade actors setting up the prank's volley, surely he'll figure that much out once Ashton Kutcher pops in for the spike.

I was one of those who sheepishly praised the Fed for taking action to keep Bear Stearns from collapsing. I was duped, too. I didn't realize that the Fed was putting up a dowry for a wedding that it apparently wasn't even invited to attend.

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