Commentaries

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from Rolfe Winkler:

Dodd on Bernanke: “not necessarily”

From Shahien Nasiripour at HuffPo.

One wonders where news and approval ratings will be when Bernanke's confirmation comes up for a vote....

I went on record with my Bernanke angst the day said he'd nominate Bernanke for a second term. At that time I qualified my opinion by saying that if Larry Summers was the other option, then I'd settle for BB. But I get the sense that Larry isn't that popular now either, that Washington wants a clean break from Bernanke/Summers/Geithner.

So take a shot on a new Fed chair Mr. President. One who's not afraid to challenge the banks, and run the occasional Fed fire drill.

Defoliating JC Flowers

William Cohan has a great takedown of J. Christopher Flowers and his struggling private equity firm in Fortune.

The story sheds light on how Flowers lost a good deal of money for his investors over the past few years and how this has tarnished the reputation he earned years ago at Goldman Sachs.

Roach builds a case against Bernanke

Stephen Roach has a nearly 1000-word piece in the FT slamming Obama’s decision to re-appoint Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair. He calls it a “very shortsighted decision” and goes on to list what he perceives as fundamental flaws in Bernanke’s thinking prior to the Lehman bailout. It’s worth the read. (For the record, I’m for the reappointment since Bernanke is the best one out there (at least among the names being floated about as possible successors) to engineer the exit strategy, which is going to depend on market confidence – something Bernanke enjoys.

But it made me wonder if Roach is readying for a return to the U.S. considering the amount of ink spilled on Bernanke coupled with celebrity status of other perma-bears like Nouriel Roubini. He’s currently chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Fed: Stop the presses

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On Thursday, the Bank of England said that it would run its printing press a bit faster while the European Central Bank hinted that theirs might slow down sooner than expected.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve's printing press is running low on ink, and Ben Bernanke has his own choice to make: Buy a new cartridge or shut the thing down. He should shut it down.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Who are Bernanke’s top 25?

How many too-big-to-fail financials might be subject to additional oversight under Obama's regulatory reform bill?  According to Ben Bernanke: roughly 25.

"On order of magnitude, a very rough guess would be 25 (firms). I would like to point out that virtually all those firms are organized as bank holding companies, or financial holding companies, which means the Federal Reserve already has umbrella supervision , so I would not envision the Fed's oversight extending to any significant number of additional firms."

The Congressional hearing we need

Once again the folks on Capitol Hill are spending time on a sideshow and ignoring the main event. What I’m talking about is today’s second round of Congressional hearings into the awful merger of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. 

Today’s featured witness is Gentle Ben Bernanke. Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee are determined to show that Bernanke twisted poor Ken Lewis’ arm, forced him to complete the Merrill acquisition and then covered it up. Meanwhile, Democrats want to prove that the BofA chief executive tried to blackmail the Fed and Treasury into coming up with financial aid to make the deal more palatable.

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