'Quiet Radical' Bernanke Reinvents Fed

Low-key chair deserves chance to stay on, clean up: Ignatius
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 8:22 AM CDT
'Quiet Radical' Bernanke Reinvents Fed
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Barack Obama has a huge decision coming up this summer: whether to reappoint Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Fed or turn to obvious challenger Lawrence Summers. If he’s smart, he’ll stick with the soft-spoken incumbent, writes David Ignatius of the Washington Post. “He has been a veritable tiger,” he writes. “The Bernanke Fed is so much more powerful than its predecessors that it’s almost a different institution.”

Bernanke erected what Ignatius calls “jury-rigged rescue programs” to pump confidence into the economy because, he tells the columnist, the financial crisis resembled an old-fashioned 19th-century bank panic. New information revealed that assets weren’t as safe as investors had believed, so they ran for the exits. Obama will want a Fed chairman who can clean up those hastily erected structures. Maybe it’s Summers. “But there’s a strong argument for not changing what looks like a winning team.” (Read more Ben Bernanke stories.)

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