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Ben Bernanke’s road show
Why the normally aloof Fed chairman is taking his case to the public
 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “doesn’t have to run for re-election,” said Dan Beucke in BusinessWeek. But, facing criticism over the financial crisis with half a year left in his first term, the once “oracle”-like Fed chief seems to be doing so anyway, holding a Kansas City town hall Sunday that will air on PBS this week. Bernanke’s new “folkiness” and openness “won’t make anyone forget CSI,” but it’s sure a change from Alan Greenspan.

Actually, Greenspan went on “Meet the Press” in October 1987, in his “rookie year,” said Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times, but some people believe that interview contributed to the stock market crash a week later. That might explain why that early appearance was Greenspan’s last TV interview for his remaining 18 years as chairman.

I'm not sure that appearing at a town hall meeting “like a local congressman seeking re-election,” said Douglas McIntyre in AOL’s Daily Finance, is a great way for Bernanke to maintain the Greenspan-era Fed’s “Mount Olympus-like status.” It also seems unnecessary. Bernanke is “viewed as something of a hero now” for stabilizing the credit markets, so he’ll almost certainly be reappointed next year.

Yes, unless the economy tanks, said Tom Lindmark in Seeking Alpha. Although Bernanke doesn't deserve a second term, due to the “huge policy mistakes” he contributed to as a Fed governor under Greenspan and his “grievous” misreading of the early signs of recession. Also, as the Fed gains new powers, it needs a strong, independent chairman. “Bernanke has not shown himself to be that sort of man.”

 

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