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Ben S. Bernanke Ph.D.

Self Description

April 2006: "Ben S. Bernanke was sworn in on February 1, 2006, as Chairman and a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Bernanke also serves as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body. He was appointed as a member of the Board to a full 14-year term, which expires January 31, 2020, and to a four-year term as Chairman, which expires January 31, 2010.

Before his appointment as Chairman, Dr. Bernanke was Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from June 2005 to January 2006.

Dr. Bernanke has already served the Federal Reserve System in several roles. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2002 to 2005; a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia (1987-89), Boston (1989-90), and New York (1990-91, 1994-96); and a member of the Academic Advisory Panel at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (1990-2002).

From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Bernanke was the Class of 1926 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He was the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Chair of the Economics Department at the university from 1996 to 2002. Dr. Bernanke had been a Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton since 1985.

Before arriving at Princeton, Dr. Bernanke was an Associate Professor of Economics (1983-85) and an Assistant Professor of Economics (1979-83) at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. His teaching career also included serving as a Visiting Professor of Economics at New York University (1993) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989-90).

Dr. Bernanke has published many articles on a wide variety of economic issues, including monetary policy and macroeconomics, and he is the author of several scholarly books and two textbooks. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and he is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bernanke served as the Director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and as a member of the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee. In July 2001, he was appointed Editor of the American Economic Review. Dr. Bernanke's work with civic and professional groups includes having served two terms as a member of the Montgomery Township (N.J.) Board of Education.

Dr. Bernanke was born on December 13, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia. He received a B.A. in economics in 1975 from Harvard University (summa cum laude) and a Ph.D. in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

Third-Party Descriptions

January 2013: 'Goldman CEO Blankfein later dismissed the importance of the loans, telling the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that the bank wasn't "relying on those mechanisms." But in his book, Bailout, Barofsky says that Paulson told him that he believed Morgan Stanley was "just days" from collapse before government intervention, while Bernanke later admitted that Goldman would have been the next to fall.'

July 2011: "What made the news surprising, of course, was that the Federal Reserve has rarely, if ever, taken action against a bank for making predatory loans. Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, didn’t believe in regulation and turned a blind eye to subprime abuses. His successor, Ben Bernanke, is not the ideologue that Greenspan is, but, as an institution, the Fed prefers to coddle banks rather than punish them. That the Fed would crack down on Wells Fargo would seem to suggest a long-overdue awakening."

May 2010: "The Lincoln provision is expected to draw the most fire in coming weeks. Sheila C. Bair, chairwoman of the F.D.I.C., and Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, have criticized the provision, asserting that it could destabilize the financial system. Administration officials say that the provision would block derivatives-clearing organizations from receiving liquidity assistance in the event of a crisis, undermining a major aim of the measure."

April 2010: "Mr. Bernanke said the Fed had known nothing about this. After all, he explained, the Fed wasn’t Lehman’s regulator — the Securities and Exchange Commission was. The Fed had placed some people at Lehman — not as many as the S.E.C. had — but they were there only to ensure that Lehman paid back money it was borrowing from the government. Can’t lay this on him."

June 2009: "And Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke, who thought preserving a deal would keep markets calm in the thick of the financial crisis, are being questioned on whether they pressured a company’s executives into ignoring their duty to their shareholders."

June 2009: "the government’s role in one of the most controversial moments of the financial crisis — the hastily arranged acquisition of Merrill by Bank of America.... Republican lawmakers on the committee are pressing for another hearing so they can question the two officials who have already been associated publicly with the heated discussions late last year, Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, and Henry M. Paulson, the former secretary of the Treasury."

July 2008: 'Even as investors were stampeding out of these stocks, the claque in Washington rushed to reassure them. Both Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Board chairman, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary, said the mortgage giants’ regulators confirmed that the companies were “adequately capitalized.”'

July 2008: "In the past few months, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has burst through long-standing boundaries on what the Fed does. Bernanke's actions -- many taken reluctantly -- have repeatedly pulled the world from the brink of financial catastrophe and have won praise from Wall Street and Capitol Hill."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Federal Reserve System (FED) Organization Apr 28, 2006
Student/Trainee (past or present) Harvard University Organization Apr 28, 2006
Student/Trainee (past or present) MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Organization Apr 28, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Organization Apr 28, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Princeton University Organization Apr 28, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Stanford University Organization Apr 28, 2006
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) Organization Apr 28, 2006
Successor to Dr. Alan Greenspan Person Nov 9, 2008

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Jan 04, 2013 Secret and Lies of the Bailout:The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come

QUOTE: Not only did [the 2009 banking system bailout--Ed.] prevent another Great Depression, we've been told, but the money has all been paid back, and the government even made a profit. No harm, no foul – right? Wrong. It was all a lie – one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people. We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences.

Rolling Stone
Jul 25, 2011 This Is Considered Punishment? (Op-Ed)

QUOTE: for anyone still hoping for justice in the wake of the financial crisis, the news was hardly encouraging. First, the Fed did not force Wells Fargo to admit guilt — and even let the company issue a press release blaming its wrongdoing on a “relatively small group.” The $85 million fine was a joke; in just the last quarter, Wells Fargo’s revenues exceeded $20 billion.

New York Times
Apr 06, 2011 Why Pay Congress?

QUOTE: If we careen over a cliff on Friday and the American government shuts down, hard-working federal workers will stop getting paychecks, but the members of Congress responsible for the shutdown are expected to be paid as usual.

New York Times
May 21, 2010 Reconciliation for 2 Financial Overhaul Bills

QUOTE: In three areas, consumer protection, restricting banks from using their own money to make bets in the market, and dealing with failing institutions that threaten the financial system, administration officials suggested that they were inclined to favor provisions in the Senate version over those of the House bill...

New York Times
Apr 03, 2010 How Washington Abetted the Bank Job

QUOTE: Mr. Bernanke said the Fed had known nothing about this....The collapse of Enron back in 2001 revealed that the biggest financial institutions, here and abroad, were busy creating products whose sole purpose was to help companies magically transform their debt into capital or revenue.

New York Times
Feb 17, 2010 Wall Street's Bailout Hustle: Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren't just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy - they're re-creating the conditions for another crash

QUOTE: there's still a widespread misunderstanding of how exactly Wall Street "earns" its money, with emphasis on the quotation marks around "earns." The question everyone should be asking, as one bailout recipient after another posts massive profits — Goldman reported $13.4 billion in profits last year, after paying out that $16.2 billion in bonuses and compensation — is this: In an economy as horrible as ours, with every factory town between New York and Los Angeles looking like those hollowed-out ghost ships we see on History Channel documentaries like Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, where in the hell did Wall Street's eye-popping profits come from, exactly?

Rolling Stone
Sep 27, 2009 As Subprime Lending Crisis Unfolded, Watchdog Fed Didn't Bother Barking (Banking on the Fed)

QUOTE: Under a policy quietly formalized in 1998, the Fed refused to police lenders' compliance with federal laws protecting borrowers, despite repeated urging by consumer advocates across the country and even by other government agencies.

Washington Post
Aug 04, 2009 Dueling Public Interests In Policing Rescued Firms: SEC Actions Could Weigh on U.S. Stakes

QUOTE: the quandary [the SEC filing suit against Regions Financial] shows the difficulty facing the nation's top Wall Street cop at a time when the economic crisis has left the U.S. government as the part-owner or controller of an unprecedented array of financial companies. Protecting investors on the one hand could mean harming taxpayer-owners on the other.

Washington Post
Jun 11, 2009 Bank Chief Tells of U.S. Pressure to Buy Merrill Lynch

QUOTE: ... Kenneth D. Lewis, Bank of America’s embattled chief executive, walked into yet another Congressional hearing room...lawmakers turned the spotlight on personalities who were not seated in the chamber: the federal officials who had pushed him to complete a troubled merger with Merrill Lynch late last year, despite knowing that huge losses riddled the once-mighty Wall Street firm.

New York Times
Jun 10, 2009 U.S. Saw Problems on the Way at Merrill

QUOTE: The documents provide a glimpse into the government’s role in one of the most controversial moments of the financial crisis — the hastily arranged acquisition of Merrill by Bank of America. While that deal saved Merrill and averted a financial firestorm, it left Bank of America scrambling to deal with a company whose losses were far greater than it had bargained for.

New York Times
Jul 17, 2008 Fed's Crisis Role Spurs Questions of Overreach

QUOTE: "The Federal Reserve has re-created itself," said Vincent Reinhart, a senior staffer at the Fed until last summer who is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "And if you do more things, you set yourself up to have to choose among them and trade off. What happens when concern for housing finance conflicts with the need to pursue price stability?"

Washington Post
Jul 13, 2008 The Fannie and Freddie Fallout (Fair Game)

QUOTE: This wasn’t the way the “ownership society” was supposed to work. Investors weren’t supposed to watch their financial stocks plummet more than 70 percent in less than a year. And taxpayers weren’t supposed to be left holding defaulted mortgages and abandoned homes while executives who presided over balance sheet implosions walked away with millions.

New York Times
Sep 07, 2007 Moral Hazard

QUOTE: When it comes to risky behavior in the market, America has a double standard. We’re told that economic risk-taking as the key to entrepreneurial success, but when big entrepreneurs take big risks that fail it’s amazing how often they get bailed out....Bush’s "ownership society" has proven a cruel farce for poor people who tried to become home owners, and his minuscule response to their plight just another example of how conservatives use moral hazard to push their social-Darwinist morality. The little guys get tough love. The big guys get forgiveness.

Robert Reich personal blog
Aug 11, 2007 Market Swings Are First Crisis for Fed Chief

QUOTE: Lower interest rates would help operators of hedge funds and other money managers... But others see a bigger danger for the economy in acting on the pleas of Mr. Cramer and others on Wall Street.

New York Times
Feb 16, 2007 Backlash grows against free trade: A record US trade deficit is rekindling the globalization debate.

QUOTE: "There was a time 10 years ago when it seemed like globalization was consensual, and there were very few remaining questions about whether it was ... a good thing," says Jeffry Frieden, an expert on global economics at Harvard University. The reality, he says, includes a caveat: Trade "can make everyone better off, so long as you compensate the losers."

Christian Science Monitor
Sep 03, 2006 Adding It Up: Pockets Half Empty, or Half Full

QUOTE: Republicans, meanwhile, have said that Democrats are exaggerating the public’s unhappiness and that there is no pay problem. President Bush and his allies have frequently, and accurately, pointed out that average incomes are rising at a nice clip. But averages can be affected by big changes among a small group of people, which is exactly what seems to be happening with incomes.

New York Times
Aug 28, 2006 Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

QUOTE: Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not specifically discuss wages, but he warned that the unequal distribution of the economy’s spoils could derail the trade liberalization of recent decades...Mr. Bernanke said policy makers must try “to ensure that the benefits of global economic integration are sufficiently widely shared.”

New York Times
Aug 25, 2006 Fed Chief Sees Faster Pace for Globalization

QUOTE: If Mr. Bernanke had a message to political leaders, it was that they needed to acknowledge the costs of globalization, in terms of lost jobs, disrupted livehoods and wrenching change and help their constituents come to terms with them.

New York Times
May 03, 2006 The Politics of Leaking

QUOTE: There's a principle here, that journalists should have the right to ferret out information they deem to be in the public interest, even if it's against the law for sources to provide that information. But to be equally candid, people--even including journalists--applaud the leaks they like and denounce the leaks they detest.

Washington Post
Feb 15, 2006 Did You Hear the One About the Trade Deficit?

QUOTE: a deficit that large would in be treated in most other countries like the economic equivalent of Defcon 3...PhDs framed their analysis not as consumption exceeding production (the so-called current account deficit), but as a consequence of cheap foreign capital financing our profligacy (the capital account surplus, which by definition is its mirror image).

Washington Post