Ben Bernanke: A Hit in Jackson Hole... Sorta
I'm not sure if this is the "fame" Bernanke wants, if he wants any at all. Can I please commission the Obama unicorn guy to do a Bernanke unicorn? PLEASE?!
The world's top economists and central bankers have gathered here in the Grand Tetons, officially to talk about "Financial Stability and Macroeconomic Policy."
But in the hallways and hotel bar of this annual symposium, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, another topic is being discussed: Whether Ben S. Bernanke will, or should, be appointed to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Bernanke's term expires on Jan. 31, and if President Obama follows tradition, he will announce his decision to reappoint Bernanke or name his replacement before Thanksgiving; possibly much sooner. That would soothe fears in the financial markets of a vacuum at the world's most powerful central bank and give the Senate time to confirm the nominee.
Leading economists and others who regularly deal with the Fed -- in other words, the kind of people who come to the Jackson Hole conference -- would generally prefer that Obama reappoint Bernanke. A Wall Street Journal survey earlier this month of 47 economists found near-unanimous support for a second term.
But privately, even the economists who favor sticking with Bernanke acknowledge that there are some solid reasons why Obama might choose to go another direction, perhaps naming top White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers. Dark horse possibilities include San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen, former Fed vice-chair Roger W. Ferguson Jr. and Christina Romer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
No, hell no, probably not, and really?!