James Pethokoukis

Bernanke nomination in more trouble than you think

December 22, 2009

Ben Bernanke’s close escape from the Senate Banking Committee sets him up for a record number of final “no” votes on his renomination as Federal Reserve chairman. A second term is still overwhelmingly likely. But such unprecedented disapproval suggests Bernanke will be a 2010 campaign issue. That could make the Fed ever more susceptible to political pressure when it comes to tighten the easy money spigot.

Ben Bernanke, 2009 Person of the Year

December 16, 2009

Or so says Time. With the vast array of unprecedented Fed actions, it is hard to argue with the selection.  But this might not be Bernanke’s last selection if inflation picks up. Remember, the award goes for the person who had the most impact, for good or ill.

The coming assault on the Fed

December 11, 2009

This piece by Paul Krugman reinforces my feeling that the Federal Reserve is going to be hit hard for not doing even more to boost the economy. He wants the Fed balance sheet expanded even more to promote faster growth.

The case against Bernanke

December 4, 2009

Some self-incriminating evidence (Bernanke in his own words) supplied by David Leonhardt of the NYTimes:

The Bernanke Dilemma

December 3, 2009

BB’s effort to be the charming professor has failed. Only a  fifth of the public supports his renomination. It’s now almost gospel in the GOP (at least outside DC) that the Fed should be abolished. And Democrats are picking their spots for attacks, such as Dodd’s idea for a single regulator and Frank’s idea to neuter the regional bank presidents.

Bernanke goes to Capitol Hill

December 2, 2009

The Bernanke confirmation hearing should be a great show, especially after BB’s “speaking truth to power” WaPo op-ed where he went all Michale Corleone on Fed critics: “Senator? You can have my answer now, if you like. My final offer is this: nothing. Not even the Fed audit bill, which I would appreciate if you would kill personally.”  Former Feddies are split on whether that was the right move or if he should have been more conciliatory ….

Corker: Bernanke confirmation may not be a done deal

December 1, 2009

From The Hill:

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), a GOP member of the banking committee holding hearing on Bernanke’s nomination to a second term in charge of the Fed, said he wasn’t sure yet whether the chairman had the votes on the Banking committee or in the Senate as a whole.

On gold and asset bubbles and inflation

November 17, 2009

The great David Goldman. First on the US asset bubble:

BOTH bond and stock prices are driven by the dollar. 17.5% unemployment by the broad measure keeps wages down and keeps the CPI low, despite the surge in commodity prices, while the cheap dollar makes US assets a bargain. Well, not exactly: the enormous reserve growth on the part of Asian central banks means that the Treasury’s debt-buying program has been outsourced to America’s Asian trading partners! No-one dares pop the bubble. It’s like what Woody Allen said about death. He wasn’t afraid of it; he just didn’t want to be there when it happened.

Who stabilized the U.S. economy, Obama or Bernanke?

November 17, 2009

Ed Yardeni votes for The Chairman, but now he thinks the Federal Reserve need to change course:

Barney Frank’s wrongheaded assault on the Fed

November 3, 2009

When you’re a nation getting ready to borrow $10 trillion or more over the next decade, you don’t want markets questioning your central bank’s commitment to controlling inflation.