Monday, January 25, 2010

Remove Ben Bernanke?

I am surprised that the anger of the hoi polloi might cost Ben Bernanke his job. I agree with Paul Krugman's assessment. He wrote today "Mr. Bernanke is a superb research economist. And from the spring of 2008 to the spring of 2009 his academic expertise and his policy role meshed perfectly, as he used aggressive, unorthodox tactics to head off a second Great Depression."

Bernanke is a Republican, so I am sure he does not have much political cover within a Democratic administration. But partisan politics aside, he knew his economic history and he knew how to avoid the same mistakes that lead to the Great Depression. He navigated those waters as well as anyone could possibly hope. I applauded the new administration when it reappointed him to head the Federal Reserve despite his political affiliation. I thought Time magazine got it right when it named him "Man of the Year."

There were a host of economic mistakes that led to our most recent gilded age, but Bernanke is hardly responsible for almost thirty years of ill concieved deregulation and a system of regressive taxation. He is, however, responsible from saving us from the effects of our folly. The medicine Dr. Bernanke administered was difficult to swallow and tasted awful--but it was better than allowing the disease to run its natural course.

We should be building a monument to honor Ben Bernanke, not removing him from his post.

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