James Pethokoukis

The next Treasury secretary will be …

February 3, 2010

Well, Simon Johnson thinks it should be Tom Hoenig, president of the Kansas City Fed:

Bernanke wins confirmation 70-30

January 28, 2010

Almost twice as many no votes as Volcker who got 16 back in 1983. BB will have to tough it out against a Congress that wants to push the Fed around.  Barney Frank, for instance, wants to kick the regional bank president off the FOMC since they are not confirmed by Senate — and are often to hawkish for his tastes.

More on the Bernanke Meltdown

January 25, 2010

Intrade says Beranke is lock, but maybe not, according to the always insightful Dan Clifton of Strategas Research:

The case against Bernanke

January 25, 2010

From AEI’s Desmond Lachman:

Bernanke’s sole claim for a second term rests on the masterful and bold way in which he prevented the U.S. economy from falling into the abyss following the Lehman debacle in September 2008. However, this begs the question as to who led us to the abyss in the first place. Throughout 2006, when the worst of the sub-prime lending was taking place, Bernanke was conspicuously silent in sounding the alarm about the dangers of the U.S. housing bubble. Similarly, he was painfully slow in recognizing how severe the fallout from the bursting of the housing bubble would be and he displayed the poorest of judgments in allowing Lehman to fail in as disorderly manner as it did.

A timeline for the financial crisis

January 4, 2010

Responding to Ben Bernanke’s defense of Fed interest rate policy, my pal Barry Ritholtz lays out a crisis timeline (the only thing missing is various US housing policy initiatives):

The Fed’s new term-deposit tool is politically risky

December 29, 2009

OK, so Ben Bernanke has cooked up a new idea to remove liquidity from the financial system,  a term-deposit program that would allow banks to park cash at the Fed. It would be like a CD of various maturities for banks. But there are some political risks here for Bernanke & Co. given the current high level of anti-Fed sentiment in Washington and in the rest of the country. First, the Fed could be accused of contributing to the freeze in small-biz lending by giving banks something else to do with their money.

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: