News / Economy

    New Head For US Central Bank?

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington,  December 12, 2012.
    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, December 12, 2012.
    Jim Randle
    U.S. President Barack Obama says Ben Bernanke has done an "outstanding" job leading the central bank and coping with the worst recession in decades.  But some analysts say Obama is likely to appoint someone else to head the Federal Reserve in a few months. analysts have mixed opinions about Bernanke's efforts.

    President Obama praised Ben Bernanke during a recent television interview, but did not really answer when asked if Bernanke will be reappointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Bernanke's second four-year term ends in January.  

    Critics say Bernanke underestimated the seriousness of the housing problem at the beginning of the financial crisis.  But an economist who has wide experience in Washington and on Wall Street, Herbert Kaufman, says Bernanke eventually got it right.  

    "I think he has handled this as well as anybody could have.  He has handled it with great skill and great tact.  And with as much communication and clarity as has been seen at the Fed,” Kaufman said.  
     
    Kaufman is affiliated with the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

    Michael Cox of Southern Methodist University in Texas has a very different opinion.  He says Bernanke's efforts to stimulate the economy with record-low interest rates are unsustainable.

    "They are creating a bubble.  The bubble is likely to be pricked [break] as soon as interest rates start to go back up.  And when that happens, all the good results of his policy are going to reverse," Cox said.  

    Cox was previously chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.  

    Besides low short-term interest rates, the stimulus effort includes $85 billion a month in securities purchases, a complex program intended to keep longer term rates low.

    Low borrowing costs make it easier for businesses to finance new equipment and factories and hire new people.  But if stimulus efforts continue for too long, they could trigger inflation. 

    Stimulus efforts have helped the stock market recover from the financial crisis, and investors became nervous when Bernanke told a congressional committee that the Fed might scale back the program over the next few months.

    "We are trying to make an assessment of whether or not we have seen real and sustainable progress in the labor market outlook.  And this is a judgment the committee will have to make," Bernanke said.

    That was back in March, and Bernanke said he will not cut the stimulus unless inflation worsens or the unemployment situation improves.  

    A new survey of financial managers at companies across the nation shows that more than one-third want the Fed to keep working to boost hiring, while others are concerned about inflation.

    A member of the American Institute of CPAs, Jim Blake, says what the economy needs the most right now is a steady hand.

    "So steady as you go is really what I’m looking for.  Somebody that isn’t going to jump in and jump out of different policies," Blake said.

    Blake is CFO of an entertainment company called Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks.

    Bernanke will wrap up two days of consultations with other top officials of the central bank Wednesday afternoon.  He then is set to meet with journalists and face questions about the state of the economy, efforts to improve it, and whether he will continue as Fed chairman.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    109.65
    GBP
    USD
    0.6827
    CAD
    USD
    1.3037
    INR
    USD
    67.037

    Rates may not be current.