As expected, Fed head Ben Bernanke got a rough ride today at his pre-confirmation confirmation hearing. While he wasn’t accused of having had anything to do with the Lindbergh kidnapping, the poor box office of The Land Before Time, recent snow in Houston, or the decrepit state of the Delta terminal at JFK, he was soundly pounded for pretty much everything else he could conceivably be blamed for having done wrong, whether directly or by simply being alive at the same time.
The Bad Ben Bernanke Bet
By December 3, 2009 · ··
I’m fine with that, of course. Because even though I am not in the conspiracy theorist camp that has the Fed in league with everyone except for the Association of Australian Interior Decorators in a scheme to cause the U.S. to violate its constitution, become wet and socialist, and print exa-dollars every minute as it debases the currency on the path to becoming Argentina (less Eva Peron), I am of the view that Bernanke is mostly toxic.
Sure, he’s smart. And decent. And he unquestionably knows more economic history of the Great Depression than do the combined economic departments of many medium-sized countries, but that doesn’t get me to re-appointment. Why? Because he is politically naive (evidenced again today by his answers); and he still hasn’t demonstrated that he understands where he and orthodox economics went awry in missing the precursors to the credit crisis. I won’t bore you by linking to the ubiquitous YouTube video demonstrating this in unfair fashion via selective editing, but trust me, there is and it does.
So, here is my question: Given all of this, and given how quickly Obama could find bipartisan and Main Street support for a new guy and new approach, why aren’t we seeing even rumbles about Ben not being re-appointed? I’m not saying we would realistically ever see a change at this late date, but couldn’t we at least have some “insider say” sort of stuff where staffers make Bernanke a little nervous? Okay, okay, maybe it’s all just to keep Larry Summers out of the job, but that would be an obstructionist tactic on par with what you see at your average daycare.
Check the following Intrade graph of the non-wagering about Bernanke not getting the job. Isn’t there anyone who wants the other side of this trade, if for no other reason than to say they did?