MacroScope

Oops, forgot about Bernanke!

U.S. Representative Barney Frank forgot one minor little detail in Thursday’s hearing on overhauling the financial regulatory system — the witness, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

After Frank and other members of Congress delivered opening statements, Frank launched into a spirited rebuttal of one member’s comments, but was soon interrupted by the committee’s top-ranking Republican, Spencer Bachus.

Bachus: Mr. Chairman, uh, your time has expired. Now if you want to give an additional….

Frank: Excuse me, I’m in my five questions, I’m in my five minutes.

Bachus: How about the opening statement of Chairman Bernanke?

Frank: Oh, I forgot about that. I apologize.

After Bernanke read his statement, Frank offered another apology — and docked himself 30 seconds of speaking time.

Another kind of death panels

U.S. Representative Barney Frank has never been shy about expressing his opinions. His opening remarks at a hearing he chaired with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday was no exception. Frank poked fun at a political squabble over healthcare reform as he detailed his position on what to do about non-bank financial firms considered “too big to fail.”

    “There will be death panels enacted by this Congress, but they will be for non-bank financial institutions that will not be considered too big to die.
    I say that because we have this euphemism that we are going to be ‘resolving’ these institutions. It has not been my experience that when someone says they are going to resolve something, they kill it. We are talking about dissolution, not resolution. We are talking about making it unpleasant for the entities. This is not a fate people will want.”

Barney Frank plays poker with China

U.S. Representative Barney Frank is rarely shy about expressing his opinions. Just yesterday he said it may be time to fire some people at AIG. Now he’s accusing China of bluffing after Premier Wen Jiabao expressed “some worries” about the value of U.S. bond holdings.

Here’s what Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, had to say:

“We do want foreign capital to come in here and we want private capital. We just had the Chinese raising the specter of not buying our Treasuries. Well, that would be troubling. I think they’re bluffing, personally.”