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Sizing Up Ben Bernanke

The economy’s getting traction. How’s the Fed chief done? How’s he doing?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, before the House Budget Committee.  (AP)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, before the House Budget Committee. (AP)

Everybody’s hoping the economy’s coming back.  Nobody knows for sure.  And the biggest foot on the pedals is the foot of Ben Bernanke.  The Federal Reserve Chairman with the trim beard and long view has been at the very heart of the economic crisis and the effort to claw back.

The fact that we’re not in a Great Depression right now owes no small debt to him.  But the Left rages that he hasn’t done enough.  The Right rages that he’s hell-bent on inflation.  Ron Paul wants to pull the Fed’s plug.  Rick Perry said don’t come down to Texas.

This hour, On Point:  the American economy and Ben Bernanke.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Roger Lowenstein, a financial journalist, his latest cover story on Ben Bernanke in the Atlantic magazine is here.

Charles Calomiris, a professor of financial institutions at Columbia University Business School.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic “Over the past four and a half years, Bernanke, 58, has presided over the most sustained period of crisis of any civilian official in recent history, with the fate of millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans hanging in the balance.”

ABC News “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sat down with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer Tuesday to discuss the state of the U.S. economy and the challenges we still face on the road to recovery. Bernanke and Sawyer spoke on a wide range of issues including gas prices, the housing market and where the national unemployment rate is heading. ”

Time “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that U.S. government intervention during the financial crisis prevented a “total meltdown” in the U.S. economy that could have rivaled the Great Depression.”

  • You can find a time-line of the recent recession here.
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