News / Economy

US Fed Chairman Steps Down After 8 Difficult Years

FILE - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, Dec. 2, 2013.
FILE - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, Dec. 2, 2013.
U. S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down Friday after guiding the world’s largest economy through years of tumult.  Bernanke wins praise for crisis management and some criticism for unfinished reforms.

Bernanke says managing the economic crisis in 2008 was like driving a car that narrowly avoids a terrible crash.

“It is my nature, I think, to kind of focus on the problem," he said. "You know, and I was so absorbed in what was happening and trying to find response to it that I wasn't really in that kind of reflective mode.  I mean, later on, you know, I was kind of like, you know, if you're in a car wreck or something, you are mostly involved in trying to avoid going off the bridge; and then later on you say, 'Oh, my God, you know.”  

Bernanke and colleagues took unprecedented actions to slash interest rates.  Lower rates were intended to pull the economy out of a dive by making it easier for businesses and families to borrow the money they needed to make major purchases.

The economy stopped shrinking and began growing.
 
Wall Street veteran and Adelphi University professor Michael Driscoll says Bernanke had to be courageous and creative to tackle new problems.

"The things Bernanke had to face ... were so large, so big, and really I do not think it is an understatement to say ... the future economic well being of the United States and the globe were hanging in the balance,” he said.

Critics say Bernanke failed to recognize that the U. S. housing market was growing in unsustainable ways.  Severe problems in the housing market played a key role in the financial crisis.

Others say the Fed should have rescued Lehman Brothers, the failing financial firm that collapsed and shook markets.  

And Boston University professor and former Federal Reserve official Cornelius Hurley says reforms intended to make the financial system less vulnerable to the collapse of any huge financial firm are inadequate and incomplete.   

“That reform agenda does not even come close to addressing the too big to fail problem ... perpetuating the systemic risk that is in the six largest banks in our country," he said.    

Bernanke, a former Princeton University professor, says his intense study of the history of the Great Depression helped him navigate this crisis.  He says it will help critics and others understand his actions.

“We hope that as the economy improves and as we tell our story and as more information comes out about, you know, why we did what we did and so on, you know, that people will appreciate and understand that what we did was necessary, that it was in the interest of the broader public," he said. "It was a Main Street set of actions aimed at helping the average American. “

That understanding may be helped by Bernanke’s drive to make the Federal Reserve’s actions easier to understand.  

During his tenure he used clearer language to describe the Fed’s actions and goals, and started holding regular news conferences in the hope that better-informed investors could make better decisions with more information and less panic.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.