A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 14, 2011
“Let them eat iPad”

Bill Dudley, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke in Queens in March 2011. A member of the audience asked Dudley about high food prices, and when he actually did his food shopping.

Dudley said that the Federal Reserve looks at the prices of all things. The iPad 2 is much more powerful than the iPad 1, but the newer version costs the same. Many in the audience felt that Dudley was tone deaf to rising commodity prices. “I can’t eat an iPad,” one person remarked.

The incident was quickly known as the Federal Reserve’s “Let them eat iPad” moment.


Federal Reserve Bank of New York
William C. Dudley
William C. Dudley became the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 27, 2009. In that capacity, he serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

Mr. Dudley had been executive vice president of the Markets Group at the New York Fed, where he also managed the System Open Market Account for the FOMC. The Markets Group oversees domestic open market and foreign exchange trading operations and the provisions of account services to foreign central banks.

Prior to joining the Bank in 2007, Mr. Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm’s chief U.S. economist for a decade. Earlier in his career at Goldman Sachs, he had a variety of roles including a stint when he was responsible for the firm’s foreign exchange forecasts. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1986, he was a vice president at the former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Mr. Dudley was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1981 to 1983.

Wikipedia: Let them east cake
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread. As brioche is a luxury bread enriched with eggs and butter, it would reflect the princess’s obliviousness to the nature of a famine.

Although they are commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, there is no record of these words ever having been uttered by her. They appear in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, his putative autobiographical work (completed in 1769, when Marie Antoinette was 13, and only published in 1782), where he wrote the following in Book 6:

Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.

Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche.”


Rousseau does not name the “great princess” and there is speculation that he invented the anecdote, which has no other sources.

Cult of Mac
Federal Reserve President Criticized for “Let Them Eat iPad” comment
By Nicole Martinelli (9:40 am, Mar. 11, 2011)
The president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank came under fire after a comment that sounds oddly like the 2.0 version of “Let them eat cake.”

President William Dudley was peppered with questions about food prices from the public during a meet-and-greet session with business leaders in Flushing, Queens. As they asked him about issues of the day, ranging from oil prices to employment forecasts, they began to accuse him of being out of touch.

As he tried to explain how rising commodity prices translate into supermarket sticker shock, the audience asked him when he actually did his own food shopping last.
(...)
“Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful,” he said referring to Apple Inc’s latest computer hitting stories on Friday.

“You have to look at the prices of all things,” he said.

YAHOO! Finance
For Fed’s Dudley, iPad comment falls flat in Queens
REUTERS
On Friday 11 March 2011, 23:36 SGT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank doesn’t normally face a raucous crowd.
(...)
“You have to look at the prices of all things,” he said.

This prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience, with one audience member calling the comment “tone deaf.”

“I can’t eat an iPad,” another quipped.

Zero Hedge
Former Goldmanite And Head Of New York Fed Bill Dudley: “Let Them Eat iPad”
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2011 13:01 -0500
(...)
As for the FTMFW comment from the audience, which apparently did not realize (unlike the prevailing thought at all other Dudley luncheons) that there is massive career risk in highlighting that the emperor is naked, has rolls of fat around his neck, and has a hairy ass, it was the following:

“I can’t eat an iPad,” another quipped. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, March 14, 2011 • Permalink