Ben Bernanke Articles

Money Manager

When the chairman stood on the burning deck.
Feb 15, 2016

In The Courage to Act, former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke reveals, a little unexpectedly, that he can tell a taut tale well, and in a manner accessible to someone who wouldn’t know a CDO from an Alt-A mortgage. After a likable autobiographical beginning, the book is centered on the Fed's response to the financial crisis that started to unfold just over a year after Bernanke took office in 2006. Bernanke was right to see that catastrophe threatened to engulf more than Wall Street, and he was right to see that, in the much-mocked phrase, something had to be done.

It's easy to criticize the technical aspects of bailouts based on Depression-era powers usable in "unusual and exigent circumstances" and put together

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Even Ben Bernanke Is Struggling ...

Can't refinance his mortgage.
8:09 AM, Oct 03, 2014

The old saying about how banks only loan money to people who don’t need it seems to be coming around again. This after the disaster that followed a policy of lending money, and lots of it, to people who really needed it but weren’t likely to pay it back. 

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Beware Forecasters Who Are Certain They Are Right

9:30 AM, Nov 30, 2013

Our economy is increasingly policy-driven, at least in the near- and medium-terms. What Congress and the president do or don’t do, what incoming Federal Reserve Board chairman Janet Yellen does or doesn’t do, will be important determinants of our growth, inflation, and job creation rates. So here is an attempt to see through the mist of obfuscation that is a feature of political and policy-making discourse, and spy the contours of future policy. 

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Moderate Growth Shrinks to Modest, and Job Growth Slows

11:00 PM, Aug 02, 2013

Spare a bit of sympathy for the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policy gurus. They have said they will begin to “taper” their purchases of bonds and mortgages when the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent.

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Bernanke Prepares His Legacy, Obama Prepares to Pick a Successor

11:00 PM, Jul 19, 2013

Data-driven, legacy-driven. Keep those two descriptives in mind and you will know a good deal about the prospects for a dialing back of asset purchases—“tapering”—by Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke.

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The Fed Ponders the Jobs Report

11:00 PM, Jul 05, 2013

Until recently it has been fashionable to denigrate the U.S. economic recovery: “America is the best house in a bad neighborhood,” sniffed many analysts. No longer. America is now a very good house in a terrible neighborhood.

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Taper Hits Bonds and Stocks But Growth Accelerates

11:00 PM, Jun 21, 2013

The bad news is that there is good news. At least, that’s how many skittish investors in shares and bonds see the increasingly cheery view of the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policy gurus who concluded last week that downside risk to the economy has diminished since the Fall, and guessed that by the middle of next year the unemployment rate will have fallen from its current level of 7.6 percent to 7 percent, and then to between 6.8 percent and 6.5 percent by the end of 2014.

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Bernanke Considers a Taper

11:00 PM, Jun 07, 2013

Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke hints that he might—perhaps, maybe—be thinking about possibly slowing the Fed’s purchases of bonds and mortgages.

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Spring Swoon

11:00 PM, Apr 26, 2013

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first quarter, well ahead of the paltry 0.4 percent in the final quarter of 2012.

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Federal Reserve Continues QE3, Improves Outlook for Unemployment

Revises downward GDP forecast.
3:02 PM, Mar 20, 2013

In a press conference today, the Federal Reserve announced it will keep interest rates low and leave QE3 unchanged, continuing to buy $85 billion a month in bonds to prop up the economy.

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The Economic Year in Review

12:00 AM, Dec 22, 2012

This is a good time to see where we have come during the year now coming to a close. Some things haven’t changed very much, or so it might seem. When the year began, households reported that 142 million Americans held jobs; right now, 143 million are in work. The labor force participation rate—the portion of workers in the labor market—was 63.7 percent when we (or some of us) were sleeping off New Year’s Eve hangovers, and now stands at 63.6 percent.

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Printing Our Way Out of Debt

12:00 AM, Dec 15, 2012

The fiscal cliff is a diversion, designed by politicians to conceal their inability to come to grips with the fact that they continue to spend too much, and refuse to reform a tax structure that reduces the competitiveness of American companies in world markets. No matter what deal is cut, whether before or after the new year, it will at best nibble at the edges of the trillion-dollar annual deficits that are being piled up.

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Obama Didn’t Save Us

Oct 22, 2012

About the only talking point Joe Biden didn’t repeat in his debate with Paul Ryan was the one lionizing President Obama for having saved the country from another Great Depression. Biden used it in his speech at the Democratic convention, as did others, and it remains a hardy perennial of Obama lore. The president, ever immodest, has credited himself for this achievement.

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Bernanke Bails Out Obama

From the Scrapbook.
Oct 01, 2012

When Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke rushed to the aid of President Obama with an act of raw partisanship called QE3, the media ignored the political implications of this latest plan to print massive amounts of new money to boost the stock market.

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Quantitative Easing Hurts the 99 Percent

The Fed's policy is crony capitalism.
8:50 AM, Sep 17, 2012

Last week, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announced the central bank would begin another round of quantitative easing, the term of art for the Fed's policy of purchasing securities in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

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Weak Jobs Report Puts Ball in Fed's Court

11:00 PM, Sep 07, 2012

The party conventions are over, the signs and funny hats are overflowing trashcans in Tampa and Charlotte, and reality returns to center stage in the form of Friday’s jobs report.

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Bernanke Punts

Gets ball back next week.
11:00 PM, Aug 31, 2012

Here is an easy way for any non-economist to tell whether an economy is in dire straits: If investors are looking to their central bankers to get them out of the mess created by over-borrowing, ineffective regulation, and political paralysis. Markets unwilling to lend money at reasonable rates?

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It Isn't Easy to Decide Whether to Ease

11:00 PM, Aug 24, 2012

Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke now has two reasons to disappoint those who are hoping he will use his speech next week at the conclave of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to launch the good ship QE3.

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The Economy Is Slowing, but Perhaps Not for Long

11:00 PM, Jul 20, 2012

Slow, slower, and maybe even stop—that’s a quick summary of how Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke sees the U.S. economy.

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Help Us Obi-Wan Bernanke

10:31 AM, Jul 17, 2012

Robert Shrum is hoping for an assist from Ben Bernanke. Perhaps, Shrum writes, the chairman will have the courage to pull a John Roberts, launch QE3, and keep a staggering economy sufficiently upright that "Obama may actually be able to run on a decidedly more upbeat path through the fall."

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Republicans Learn Moneyball

Why the GOP candidates need to talk about the Fed.
Oct 24, 2011

Three Republican presidential candidates​—​Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich​—​have at least hinted about the desirability of a return to the gold standard. The four top Republican congressional leaders recently called on the Federal Reserve to curb its interventions in the U.S. economy. In early October the Heritage Foundation held a two-day sound money conference in which both keynote speakers​—​New York investment banker Lewis Lehrman and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes​—​called for adoption of a gold-backed dollar. Advocating the replacement of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has become a

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Bernanke Takes a Break

11:00 PM, Aug 26, 2011

“Don’t just do something, stand there,” President Ronald Reagan once advised his staff.

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Fear the Fed

7:01 AM, Aug 10, 2011

A businessman and investor for whose judgment I have the highest regard sends this email about yesterday’s Fed announcement:

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The Daily Grind: Bernanke is Clueless

6:30 AM, Jun 23, 2011

Jennifer Rubin: "For Obama, it’s all about getting out of Afghanistan"

We must repeal the Obamacare plan for Medicare says... Dick Gephardt?

Well, that's reassuring -- Bernanke is clueless.

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