After heated debate, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Ben Bernanke to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman. Supporters, including President Obama, had warned that rejecting Bernanke would panic investors. But opponents said Bernanke's easy-money policies had fueled the housing bubble, and that his bank bailouts further damaged the economy. The 70-30 vote marked the weakest endorsement ever for a Fed chairman. Did Bernanke deserve a second term? (Watch an AP report about Ben Bernanke's confirmation)
No way. He deserved the boot: The Senate had an opportunity to hold Ben Bernanke accountable for his mistakes, says Simon Johnson in The Huffington Post, which is the real key to stabilizing financial markets. Instead, senators gave Bernanke the green light to concoct "larger bailouts" -- at taxpayer expense -- the next time big banks get themselves in trouble. "What kind of fiscal responsibility strategy is this?"
"Bernanke's reappointment: A colossal failure of governance"
We're better off with Bernanke on the job: Republicans had the votes to block him if they really wanted to, says Daniel Indiviglio in The Atlantic. But maybe the senators who backed Bernanke passed up on this opportunity to embarrass Obama because they judged Bernanke to be the best person for the job. "Whatever their reasons, I'm sure the... the economy will ultimately be better off."
"Republicans could have derailed Bernanke's confirmation"
Bernanke's job will be harder now: Bernanke survived, but the confirmation fight left him "bruised," says the Associated Press' Jeannine Aversa. The Fed is supposed to be insulated from politics so it can stick to unpopular decisions, such as raising interest rates, for the good of the economy. The "anti-bailout anger" that stirred up so many "no" votes could "have lasting impact on the Fed's ability to manage the economy without regard to the political winds."
"Analysis: Bernanke's Senate fight may undercut fed"