James Pethokoukis

The case against Bernanke being reappointed as Fed chairman

August 20, 2009

David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff outlines the bear case on Ben Bernanke getting reappointed by Obama:

Ron Paul’s Fed audit idea: Are there any economists in favor?

August 4, 2009

I have taken a lot of heat about my coverage of Ron Paul’s idea to audit the Federal Reserve.  I would love to do a piece on economists in favor of the bill. So I am looking for names.  Now these have to be professional economists, people making a living from teaching or consulting. No self-taugt experts. Please leave names in the comment section below. And here is a bit from the good doctor himself on his bill:

What Ben Bernanke is telling Congress about Ron Paul’s Fed audit plan

August 3, 2009

This bit from the WSJ‘s interview with John McCain caught my eye:

“You have no idea the pressure I was under,” he says. “I remember being on the phone with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Treasury secretary and [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke. They assure me the world financial system is going to collapse if I don’t vote for the bill. So I do the impetuous and rash thing by saying, look, I have got to go back to Washington and see how I can help. And by the way, so did Obama—but it was McCain that was the impetuous one. Obama came back to Washington.” Mr. McCain grumbles, “He was at the White House with me. But he wasn’t impetuous.”

6 economists on why Ron Paul’s Fed audit idea is wrong

August 3, 2009

I asked a half dozen economists who are very concerned about Federal Reserve independence what they thought about Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Fed. This was my specific question: “Given that Congress can already grill the Fed chairman during Humphrey-Hawkins (and occasional other congressional appearances), how would a GAO audit really threaten Fed independence in practical terms?”

Libertarian economist disagrees with Ron Paul’s plan to audit Fed

August 3, 2009

I just got this email from an economist with strong libertarian leanings who also thinks that Ron Paul’s plan to audit the Fed is a bad, bad idea:

Or maybe it is time to shutter the Fed …

July 31, 2009

It took my pal John “The Professor” Tamny of RealClearMarkets about a nanosecond to respond to my blog column about Ron Paul’s plan to audit the Fed. He let loose with both barrels:

Ron Paul’s Dumb Plan to Audit the Federal Reserve

July 31, 2009

The Federal Reserve is at least partially to blame for the economic crisis. It left interest rates too low for too long, and laxly regulated the megabanks. Given this reality, or at least this public perception, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of economists and politicos with oodles of ideas for re-imagining the central bank’s role and function. (Linking its policymaking operations more directly to the performance of market metrics such as the greenback, bond rates, and commodities would be a good start.)

The case against Ben Bernanke

July 30, 2009

Over at ClusterStock, former Merrill Lynch strategist Richard Bernstein tells us why it should be “one and done” for Ben Bernanke. (He compares BB to Burns and Miller from the 1970s. Ouch!)

The Fed more unpopular than the IRS

July 28, 2009

Ben Bernanke isn’t just campaigning for his own reappointment — though that certainly is part of what’s going on. He is also bolstering the public image of the Fed, which could use some help:

Bernanke: I saved the economy. Give me another term

July 21, 2009

This from Mike Feroli of JPMorgan (bold is mine):

Beyond the issues surrounding the economy and exit strategies, another aspect of the testimony that was of interest was the political angle. Bernanke made his strongest case to date that Fed actions have helped prevent what could otherwise have been an economic catastrophe. His very first sentence of the testimony read “Aggressive policy actions taken around the world last fall may well have averted the collpase of the global financial system.” After listing the notable imporvements in credit markets, he goes on to say “Many of the improvements in financial conditions can be traced, in part, to policy actions taken by the Federal Reserve to encourage the flow of credit.” These statements should be seen in the context of the whithering criticism of the Fed’s conduct of policy, some of that criticism coming from within Congress.