If you weren’t convinced before that Ben Bernanke should be replaced as Chairman of the Federal Reserve you might be now. Wall Street’s Humble Servant–Secretary Timothy Geithner–has warned that if Bernanke is replaced, "I think the markets would view that as a very troubling thing to the economy as a whole."
Geithner and Bernanke’s subservience to "the markets" at the expense of the public interest is key to why there is growing opposition to Bernanke serving a second term. His Senate reconfirmation vote was already delayed once, and according to The Hill, "no less than 13 Democratic and Republican senators" have now announced that they will vote against him—-including Senators Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold, Byron Dorgan, Barbara Boxer, and Jeff Merkley. Many more are on the fence.
No one has been more vocal in his opposition than Senator Sanders who placed a hold on Bernanke’s nomination. In a statement released on Sunday, he said: "The issue for Democrats is whether they will allow Republicans to pretend to be the populist, anti-Wall Street party, or whether they will have the courage to stand up to Wall Street and bring in a Fed chairman who will represent the needs of working families rather than huge financial institutions… Ben Bernanke was the top economic advisor to George W. Bush. He was in lockstep agreement with Alan Greenspan, who has now endorsed him. These are the people who let Wall Street run amok."
I also spoke with University of Maryland Law Professor Michael Greenberger for his take on Bernanke. Greenberger served as the Director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) back when Chair Brooksley Born and her colleagues were calling for regulation of derivatives.
"Bernanke is constantly playing shell games," Greenberger said. "Now he’s trying to get out of the criticism for having too lax a monetary policy by saying, ‘It wasn’t monetary policy it was lax regulation.’ But Bernanke was vigorously fighting regulation of hedge funds, for over-the-counter derivatives, up to the point of the meltdown. And, in fact, one of the biggest sponsors of this current swap exemption is the Fed–it’s a $50 trillion exemption. So when he’s attacked for monetary policy he says, ‘Oh, it’s regulation. But he led the charge for deregulation and fighting re-regulation."