Sunday, December 07, 2008


If you missed it, be sure to check out John Cassidy's article on Ben Bernanke in the December 1 issue of The New Yorker. Overall it's pretty damning. One problem I had with it is the ink devoted to Bernanke's "nice guy" qualities, which seems to be de rigueur for any media profile of him. This drives me up the wall. It helps make economics palatable for the public, I guess. It's also part of what got us into this mess: the focus on soft issues like personality instead of performance and results, a la Greenspan as congenial, briefcase-toting Maestro and seer.

But Cassidy is on target in linking Bernanke to Greenspan's disastrous policies, something I've focused on here. Key quote from Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach: "Bernanke was complicit in massive policy blunders on the part of the Fed." Frankly, I'm amazed Bernanke hasn't had the good sense to step down. (And re: Greenspan, if he was a few decades younger, I think there would be credible mainstream calls for his prosecution right now.) A quick statement by Bernanke about "the need for fresh energy at the Federal Reserve" would do it, then back to leafy Nassau Street. During the campaign, Obama expressed pro forma support for him. We'll see what happens after January.


Anonymous am4 said...

Curious to hear your thoughts on Geithner, especially given his role, at least initially, in the outrageous Citi bailout.

12/07/2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernanke is the ML Carr of the Federal Government. Just a guy hired to take us into last place so we can get a high draft pick.

12/08/2008 2:12 AM  
Anonymous JohnR said...

"Frankly, I'm amazed Bernanke hasn't had the good sense to step down."
Funny, I never took you for a starry-eyed idealist. How many people in any position of power don't really believe, to their cores, that they have what it takes to solve the problems they face (which, incidentally, are invariably someone else's fault). Backing down would at least admit failure if not responsibility. Why, that might lead to being given the white feather and drummed out of the club - it just isn't done!

12/08/2008 12:40 PM  
Anonymous judyo said...

The media has done a bang up job on the "personality" of Bush. Rather like burying foul tasting medicine in a bowl of ice cream.
Guess they're going to stick to a winning formula.

12/08/2008 2:59 PM  

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