Is Ben Bernanke trying to help Obama win re-election?
This week, the Federal Reserve announced a new round of asset purchases, pledging to buy $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities per month for an indefinite period of time. The plan is meant to strengthen the economy by lowering interest rates, facilitating the flow of credit, and sparking hiring activity by businesses. However, some Republicans see some less honorable motives behind the move, complaining that Chairman Ben Bernanke is trying to help President Obama win re-election. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that Bernanke is "trying to juice the economy" before November, and that the whole affair "looks to be political." Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said, "It really is interesting that it is happening right now before an election. It is going to sow some growth in the economy, and the Obama administration is going to claim credit." Is Bernanke carrying water for Obama?
Yes. Bernanke is doing all he can to help Obama: Bernanke has turned the Federal Reserve into a "taxpayer-funded super PAC that has so far pumped something like $2 trillion into the economy to help re-elect" Obama, says George Rasley at Conservative HQ. The central bank's plan will artificially inflate the stock market, but it won't "put real people on Main Street back to work," making it entirely useless "unless your goal is to re-elect" Obama. Mitt Romney has "vowed to replace Bernanke if he is elected," and we should make sure he "gets the chance to make good on that vow."
"The Fed's $40 billion a month plan to help Obama"
Come on. This is sheer paranoia: "Republicans can yelp and yap all they want," but the truth is that "there isn't really time between now and Nov. 6 for this move to have a huge impact on the economy," says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast. "If Bernanke wanted to influence the election he'd have done this in the summer." Furthermore, Republicans seem to forget the "struggling economy out there." The more plausible explanation is that Bernanke, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, is simply trying to lower the unemployment rate.
"The Fed acts, finally"
Actually Bernanke is helping Romney more than Obama: Republicans are accusing Bernanke of "juicing the stock market," but his latest move "could give a huge messaging boost" to Romney, says James Pethokoukis at Business Insider. Obama has been trying to "persuade voters that the U.S. economy is on the right track," but Bernanke essentially "admitted what most folks outside Washington already knew: The economy, three years into a supposed recovery, remains in terrible shape." Romney needs to "seize opportunities like this one when they come along."
"Ben Bernanke and the Fed gave Mitt Romney a huge gift"