There is a huge push to not confirm Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke going on at this moment.
My problem with all of this activity is the Federal Reserve Chair is nominated by the President of the United States. Is a Bernanke alternative on the level of JP Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon, who is being considered to replace Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in the pipeline?
Will we go from frying pan to fire in not confirming Helicopter Ben?
To date, no financial reforms, including the Federal Reserve reforms, have even passed Congress. Isn't the point of all of this to never give another Alan Greenspan that level of power over the United States Financial system and policy?
The actual confirmation hearing is Thursday, December 3rd. The committee can refuse to send a nomination to the Senate floor for a vote. They can also send a nomination to the floor without their approval, where it could fail in the whole Senate. Finally, a filibuster can be possible.
It probably doesn't help Bernanke wrote this op-ed pushing to maintain the status quo, while there is a huge push to limit the Federal Reserve's powers in Congress.
Meanwhile, this story, of the Federal Reserve's policy on shreading unedited source transcripts from their policy meetings comes out.
On top of things, the Fed's job approval rating is lower than the IRS.
This action makes a little more sense to me. Reps Ron Paul and Alan Grayson ask for a confirmation hearing delay until the Federal Reserve discloses which recipients received $2 trillion dollars in loans.
Here is the list of Senate banking committee members.
Christopher J. Dodd Chairman (D-CT)
Richard C. Shelby Ranking Member (R-AL)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Robert F. Bennett (R-UT)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
While a few Senators, not on the banking committee, have said how they will vote, it's unclear how many votes Bernanke has on the committee. There are so many corporate bought and paid fors on this membership roster, so I cannot imagine a Bernanke confirmation defeated. Ben has been good to big banks who often fund campaigns.
Both Chris Dodd and Republican Bob Corker say even on the committee it's not a done deal. It seems the Democrats are very upset at the attempts to thwart a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the Republicans are upset, especially Senator Shelby, about the bail outs themselves.
Gee, us Populists must be truly bi-partisan for we are enraged on all of the above.
Still, that burning hot fire below this ridiculous pan frying up the bacon for the privileged few has me leery.
The Cunning Realist has a list of questions for Ben Bernanke in Rewarding Failure. Below is just one question. Read the entire post, it would be great if a Senator just literally read it in committee.
Explain this pattern of terrible predictions and forecasts. What do they imply about your ability to conduct policy going forward? Is there some fatal flaw in your economic models or forecasting tools? Are you just winging it?
At minimum, I expect a roasting of Ben over political rhetoric and pontificating hot coals during this hearing. But will hell on Earth for the U.S. middle class and overall economy improve? Will any serious reforms move forward in Congress that are not full of loopholes? I wouldn't bank on it.