With his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, looking on, Chairman Ben Bernanke addresses President George W. Bush and others after being sworn in to the Federal Reserve post. Also on stage with the President are Mrs. Anna Bernanke and Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Photo - Wikipedia
by John Dankosky - The Hartford Courant’s Capitol Watch has done a nice job in the last few days getting reaction from Richard Blumenthal’s main rivals for a Senate seat to his announcement on Where We Live that he would oppose the re-nomination of Fed. Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Republican Rob Simmons agreed with Blumenthal (a rarity) in a statement:
“As a central figure in failing to anticipate and prevent the economic meltdown, an architect of the no-strings-attached government bailouts, and a defender of the Fed’s lack of transparency, Chairman Bernanke’s record does not support his confirmation for another term as Federal Reserve Chairman.”
Peter Schiff wonders where all these critics were years ago, when he was beating up Bernanke on TV.
“Together the two of them kept interest rates too low, inflated the housing bubble and tried to get consumers to spend too much,” Schiff said in a brief phone interview this afternoon.
“You have these other politicians jumping on the bandwagon now that its popular to bash Bernanke,” Schiff said. “They didn’t say anything about him two or three or four years ago.”
Linda McMahon re-iterated her support for Bernanke in a statment:
“While not perfect, Ben Bernanke helped steer the fed through some very turbulent waters and Linda respects the President’s decision to re-appoint him.”
Senator Dodd, meanwhile, also affirmed his support for Bernanke, putting him at odds with the man now most likely to replace him.
by John Dankosky
Richard Blumenthal and John Dankosky in the Where We Live studio - photo Chion Wolf
- Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live,
Connecticut Attorney General – and Senate candidate -Richard Blumenthal is asking senators to reject the re-nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. That Senate vote, once said to be a slam-dunk, is now in question.
Blumenthal said that he’s doing this “somewhat regretfully” because of Bernanke’s “economic expertise, and his past involvement in crisis, which has been positive.” Here’s some of what Blumenthal had to say:
“I give him credit for many good decisions, but I think that his current tack needs to be changed. And that we need to send a message to our nation that we’re done with the kind of laxity toward Wall Street that has been tolerated for much too long.”
“I have immense respect for Chairman Bernanke, but my my feeling is that we need some new leadership at the federal reserve. He has opposed some of the financial regulatory reforms that the President himself has supported. I have supported creating a consumer finance protection agency that would, in effect, provide safeguards for consumers against some of the deceptive and risky loans that again, were at the core of our economic problems and the meltdown that occured. The chairman has opposed a number of reforms that I feel are necessary. And, he has also failed to take action so far against the spiraling increases in fees and charges, sometimes on people who pay in full, on time, with their credit card. And these increases in the credit card rates, I think are unconscionable and unacceptable. I’ve written not only to the banks, but to him, and so far, he’s failed to act.
I think we need new leadership at the federal reserve.”
Blumenthal said that “we need someone with a different view” of the regulation of Wall Street, but admitted it might not be easy to find that candidate.
“The chairmen of the federal reserve have come from the culture and profession that really embodies Wall Street. And Wall Street can do many great things…provide exchanges where people’s money can buy stock in good companies, and they can provide liquidity to the nation’s financial system, and talent to run our corporations. But the kind of bailouts that we gave, and the lack of sufficient oversight against the bonuses, and some of the now repeated excesses I think is something that the federal reserve has to be held accountable for doing.”
He said that because he’s “not running for President” he wouldn’t presume to make a list of possible contenders for the job. Blumenthal also said that his actions weren’t about “blame going backward,” but instead were meant to be about a step forward in regulating the financial services industry, reigning in credit card abuses, and cracking down on big bonuses given out by the banks.
“We need someone in the federal reserve who shares the kind of outrage that I think American people feel about the way things are going in this country.”