Burning Ben

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. frying pan fire 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?

Just sayin'.

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.



Ben Bernanke is another Alan Greenspan

Great article - please keep it up.

I'm still in stunned disbelief that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke refuses to tell the American people who he gave over $2 TRILLION of United States currency (freshly printed I might add) to.

Come on Ben, what kind of toxic assets did you take off the hands of your banking buddies in return for cold hard cash?

For this alone Ben Bernanke should be fired on the spot.

very good question

and I agree, the refusal to release that information is outrageous, although I find Alan Greenspan to be the real villain.

Glad you like it. The entire blogosphere wants Bernanke out and I believe we're the only site that says ok, we get that....now who gets in? Just as an example, Greenspan is way worse than Bernanke.

It's like Geithner. I think he should be fired but it comes from the top, it's Obama who is approving these directions. Even worse, do I want JP Morgan Chase as Treasury Secretary? Jesus, we just had Goldman Sachs as Treasury Secretary and see what happened there! i.e. we have a revolving multinational financial corporate door....

That's the real problem.

The Rant of All Rants.

Wow! I have just finished reading Lee Iacono's post at The Big Picture and my populist juices are boiling.

Iacono has linked to Senator Jim Bunning's website and presented Bunning's prepared statement for today's confirmation hearings on Bernanke. True to the ex baseball player he is, Bunning "touches all the bases" and "hits it out of the ballpark" in criticizing Bernanke's performance as Fed Chairman. I mean to tell you, he heaps it on Ben and throughs in this zinger too!

... you have decided that just about every large bank, investment bank, insurance company, and even some industrial companies are too big to fail. Rather than making management, shareholders, and debt holders feel the consequences of their risk-taking, you bailed them out. In short, you are the definition of moral hazard.

Here's his closing paragraph:

From monetary policy to regulation, consumer protection, transparency, and independence, your time as Fed Chairman has been a failure. You stated time and again during the housing bubble that there was no bubble. After the bubble burst, you repeatedly claimed the fallout would be small. And you clearly did not spot the systemic risks that you claim the Fed was supposed to be looking out for. Where I come from we punish failure, not reward it. That is certainly the way it was when I played baseball, and the way it is all across America. Judging by the current Treasury Secretary, some may think Washington does reward failure, but that should not be the case. I will do everything I can to stop your nomination and drag out the process as long as possible. We must put an end to your and the Fed’s failures, and there is no better time than now.

I wonder what the Vegas odds are that Big Ben will be confirmed? You have to read the whole statement. Bunning's criticisms are kindling for the populist fire that is beginning to burn more intensely in America.