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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8140
JPY
USD
118.81
GBP
USD
0.6402
CAD
USD
1.1597
INR
USD
63.066

Rates may not be current.