President Obama announced Tuesday that he wants to keep Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. Bernanke is a South Carolina native who lived in Dillon County.
USC Assistant Professor of Economics William Hauk says it’s a good idea. “He’s in a very good position to address what we’re going through. Previously he was an economics professor, and his main area of interest was what happened to the American financial system during the Great Depression. And I think given the hand he was dealt, he has done a pretty good job so far.”
Dr. Hauk says there are some things that Bernanke will continue doing well, and things he won’t be able to do. “He’ll continue making sure that interest rates are low, that there’s money flowing into the financial system. And he has made sure that failing banks are bought up so that their good assets have been used to make loans to businesses and consumers. What he’s not able to do is take on the traditional role of being a guardian against inflation. What the Fed is most worried about is the fate of the financial system, and if there’s another fall off in consumer demand or investment spending, the possibility of deflation.”
South Carolina Congressman John Spratt, Chairman of the US House Budget Committee, said that Bernanke has earned the honor of being reappointed, because he steered the Fed and the economy through the most perilous period since the 1930s.
Spratt says after he was appointed, Bernanke won the confidence of markets around the world. Spratt says looking back, historians will find plenty to fault with the initial decisions Bernanke made, but they will have to agree that having him in power may have spared the economy a meltdown.