Opinion

The Great Debate

Bernanke’s deficit warning helps Obama

obama– James Pethokoukis is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Sorry, Larry Summers. It’s looking more and more likely that you’re going to be stuck in the West Wing for the duration.

See, if your boss fails to reappoint Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman come January, it would be a public betrayal worthy of the television reality show “Survivor.” For President Obama has no greater ally: Bernanke is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

The latest evidence came on Wednesday during Bernanke’s testimony before the House Budget Committee. The Fed chairman offered a stern warning about America’s huge budget deficits.

“Maintaining the confidence of the financial markets requires that we, as a nation, begin planning now for the restoration of fiscal balance,” Bernanke said.

Fed sets out exit strategy

John Kemp Great Debate– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Intense criticism of the Fed’s role in the financial rescue program and the decision to triple its balance sheet, including monetizing a portion of the Treasury’s debt, has forced the central bank to issue an unusual defense of its actions (http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20090323b.htm).

It attempts to placate critics by acknowledging the real risk of inflation, and marks the Fed’s first attempt to set out an “exit strategy” for ending quantitative easing and other credit programs once the crisis is safely passed.

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