Good Luck, Ben!!

The man next to me, Ben Bernanke, has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this nation and the world has ever faced, said Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, as he re-appointed him to another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Bernanke’s whose first term began in 2006 and was due to end on January 31, 2010. In his current stint, Bernanke has proved himself as a strong protectionist who saved the world from humungous debt by showering the markets with liquidity. “Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel,” said Warren Buffett in annual letter to shareholder in February this year. “These once-unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome aftereffects. Their precise nature is anyone’s guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation” Buffett added then.

Stephen Roach, Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, in his comment in a leading financial daily, wrote, “It is important to remember that his pre-crisis actions played an equally critical role in setting the stage for the most wrenching recession since the 1930s.” Roach also points out that Bernanke’s philosophical conviction that central banks should be agnostic when it comes to asset bubbles and markets know better than regulators thought process have been his biggest mistakes.

Bernanke, on the Board of Governors when his predecessor – Alan Greenspan grew the lax bubble economy, was often remarked as ‘Helicopter Ben’. He was the most vocal supporter of low interest rates to combat the bogus threat of deflation, even if it meant dropping cash from helicopters. In one of his speech around deflation, in November 2002, Bernanke had said that the US government has a technology, called a printing press that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. “By increasing the number of US dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the US government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation.”

“We are a long way away from completely healthy financial systems and a full economic recovery,” said Obama. Questions remain unanswered about the stimulus measures and their impacts on inflation. Also, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the US federal budget deficit will run to $1.6 trillion this year which is 11.2% of its economy. “We need Ben Bernanke to continue the work he’s doing, and that’s why I’ve said that we cannot go back to an economy based on overleveraged banks, inflated profits, and maxed-out credit cards” said Obama. Good Luck, Ben !!

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