I was dismayed this morning when I heard Majority Leader Harry Reid and Wisconsin’s favorite Senator Russ Feingold both pull the verbal rug out from underneath Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. While I understand that this is an election year, and there seems to be populist fever running amuck over banking policies and large financial institutions, I am befuddled how not allowing Bernanke another term at the Fed helps the national economy.
In fact it will hurt if Beranke is not confirmed. If there is an unsettling turn-over at the Fed the markets will respond negatively and the economic forward motion, slow and awkward though it may be, will stutter and perhaps cease to be.
Therefore, I am not pleased for what I can only surmise is pure politics when those up for election this fall step in front of the Bernanke issue in hopes of derailing it.
Is Ben Bernanke perfect and without some chinks in his armor when it comes to the economic woes of the past two years? Of course not. But I think there is every reason to argue that it was Bernanke who also was at the helm to insure that the economy did not get even worse. While many populists (I do not count myself as one) bemoan the idea that Bernanke helped save giant banks from collapse, they also fail to recognize the potential harm that would have resulted for millions had such a thing happened. While protecting the financial system may seem like it was designed only to help the ‘fat cats’ it should be noted by Feingold and others that protecting the major players also helps protect the whole economy. While that may not fly as good rhetoric at the liberal bean curd dinners it does make sound sense for the rest of the nation. (Yeah, I am bit upset by the news today.)
So enough with making Ben Bernanke a political football and a scapegoat for the fall elections. The United States Senate should confirm Bernanke for a second term.