Ben Bernanke

It’s hard to interpret the letter that Congressional Republicans sent on Tuesday evening to Ben Bernanke as anything other than an attempt to politically influence the monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve. Democrats have correctly recognized this as a rare breach of the central bank’s independence.

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Going Soprano on the Fed

So now the Republicans want to go all Tony Soprano on the Fed. On Tuesday, the GOP's four congressional leaders sent a formal letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The Fed today finishes a critical two-day meeting, during which it will discuss whether to swing into action again, taking steps that could boost economic growth and reduce unemployment. Many and probably most mainstream economists think that's the right thing to do. The Republicans do not. They were not happy the last time the Fed intervened.

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A not insignificant portion of the national political establishment—consisting of panicky Democrats and Republicans alike—is hoping that Rick Perry’s commanding lead in recent Republican primary polls will wither under the lights of this month’s multiple presidential debates, beginning with tonight’s event at the Ronald Reagan Library in California.

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke just wrapped up his much-anticipated speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And exactly what he signaled remains the subject of some disagreement, at least for the moment. Bernanke did not call explicitly for another round of quantitative easing, as many were hoping he would, and may even have suggested a determination to dampen growth if it starts to accelerate. On the other hand, Bernanke did indicate the Fed would consider further action to strengthen the economy at its September meeting.

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I saw him last night. I saw Senator Marco Rubio in person as he delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library outside of Los Angeles. I saw Marco Rubio catch Nancy Reagan as she stumbled.

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The first week of the Rick Perry presidential campaign has put the Republican establishment in a full panic. Perry has defined himself as a full right-wing stereotype, an over-the-top George W. Bush impersonator. Much of the tension between Perry and party elites in Washington has been portrayed as the continuation of a longstanding grudge between him and the Bush circle.

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-- A good example of why people don't like the Fed.  -- And here are several prominent conservatives who have no nice things to say about Ben Bernanke. -- If you're looking for a left-wing way to interpret Texas's admittedly impressive job growth, here it is.  -- Rick Perry's New Hampshire debut.  -- One of Bachmann's key Iowa organizers was arrested in Uganda on terrorism charges  in 2006. 

Bedford, New Hampshire—I’m on vacation, but I couldn’t resist driving over to the Bedford Village Inn this morning to hear the newest Republican candidate for president, Texas Governor Rick Perry, at the regular “Politics and Eggs” get together. I thought that, with one exception, Perry came off pretty well—enough to make him a formidable challenger to Mitt Romney. He also didn’t position himself so far to the right that he would become an easy target in the general election.  Perry has rugged Marlboro Man good looks, but he is not a commanding figure.

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 -- Excellent parody of horserace, no policy substance or moral judgement journalism.  -- The difference between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on the Fed.  -- From about two weeks ago: former Bush CEA Chair and current Romney adviser defends former Bush CEA chair Ben Bernanke.  -- Former Reagan CEA chair praises a weaker dollar.  -- An ideological map of the Super Committee. 

[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] According to both Republican politicians and conservative opinion-writers, the problem with our economy is not a shortfall of demand. If they thought this was the problem, you would not see the calls for massive reductions in spending right now, you would not see Paul Ryan describing a payroll tax holiday as a “sugar high,” and you would not see Fred Barnes totally dismissing stimulus as a way to grow the economy. Problem being, as Jon has pointed out before, everyone from Ben Bernanke to Goldman Sachs thinks that large, immediate cuts would retard growth.

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