With Ben Bernanke’s term as Federal Reserve chair near expiration, virtually every economic policy pundit in good standing has thrown out their list of who should replace him. Some favor the aggressive regime shift of a Christina Romer. Others prefer the continuity of a Janet Yellen.
The Federal Reserve needs to loosen its grip
The Federal Reserve appears eager to begin “tapering,” that is, reducing the monthly bond purchases it is making to support the economic expansion. Based on FOMC projections and Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments, the Federal Reserve expects to start tapering later this year and to end asset purchases by the middle of 2014. Though the economy is improving, this discussion is premature.
JARED BERNSTEIN, a Washington wonk and former economic adviser to Joe Biden, recently posed an interesting question. Why is it, Bernstein asked on his blog, that the only part of the government acting with any urgency to ease joblessness—the economic problem affecting the greatest number of Americans—is the unelected Federal Reserve? Bernstein was referring to Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement that the Fed would keep interest rates close to zero as long as unemployment remained above 6.5 percent.
Political polarization has become an obstacle to economic growth because it is increasing uncertainty, and delaying new private sector investment and hiring. That’s the view emerging from the business community and—increasingly—from the economics profession. Earlier this month, in a front-page New York Times story, a number of CEOs gave voice to their fears about the fiscal cliff and the broader policy impasse in Congress. According to Vincent Reinhart, chief U.S.
America’s financial sector is in the news almost every day, its role in the economy and relationship to government subjects of public debate. “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” is a common protest chant in the Occupy Wall Street movement, while Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke defends the Fed’s assistance to banks during the financial crisis in 2008. Meanwhile, the nation as a whole remains stuck in a recovery that feels like a continuation of the Great Recession. Is Wall Street benefiting at the expense of Main Street? The December edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor takes a metropo
With former pizza magnate Herman Cain suddenly running second to Mitt Romney in most national polls, a Cain Mutiny was as inevitable as the Iowa caucuses moving into the Christmas season. The rebellion against Cain as a top-tier candidate was led by three lagging GOP contenders who must know that they will never be president—Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. The occasion for the rhetorical caning of Cain by his jealous rivals was Tuesday night’s forgettable theater-in-the-round Dartmouth debate featuring the candidates all seated at the same circular table.
If you're wondering why Rick Perry's poll numbers are up even after he threatened to beat up Ben Bernanke and said Social Security was unconstitutional, here's your answer: There's a disturbance in the solar system. Large solar flares have created a "strong to severe geomagnetic storm." Basically, planet earth is getting battered with radioactive particles. "The earth's magnetic field is pretty disturbed," a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association told the Los Angeles Times. We've entered solar flare "season," which actually lasts 11 years.
“Regarding the Great Depression: You’re right, [the Federal Reserve] did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.” Those were then-Fed Governor and current Chairman Ben Bernanke’s words to economist Milton Friedman in 2002, when a bunch of economic bigwigs gathered to fête the Nobel laureate on his 90th birthday. Bernanke’s paean to Friedman reflected mainstream Republican economic thought: The Great Depression wasn’t a failure of markets, but rather of central banking.
My New Republic colleague Jonathan Cohn's otherwise excellent Sept. 21 post, about congressional Republican leaders' thuggish letter to Ben Bernanke telling the Fed chief not to engage in further economic stimulus, is marred, in its postscript, by an excess of fair-mindedness. Citing the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, Cohn concedes that yes, there was a time when Democrats were equally guilty of trying to interfere with the independent Federal Reserve Board. And so they were.