Why Bernanke should be reconfirmed

Jim Hamilton nails it.  Excerpts:

Please permit me to suggest that intellectual stamina is the most important quality we need in the Federal Reserve Chair right now.


How could there possibly be an alternative whom Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) would both prefer to Bernanke?

Elsewhere I have to strongly differ with the Johnson-Kwak proposal that Paul Krugman be selected.  I don't intend this as a negative comment on Krugman, if anything I am suggesting he is too dedicated to reading and writing and speaking his mind.  The Fed Chair has to be an expert on building consensus and at maintaining more credibility than Congress; even when the Fed screws up you can't just dump this equilibrium in favor of Fed-bashing.  What lies on the other side of that curtain isn't pretty.  Would Krugman gladly suffer the fools in Congress?  Johnson and Kwak are overrating the technocratic aspects of the job (which largely fall upon the Fed staff anyway) and underrating the public relations and balance of power aspects.  It's unusual that an academic will be the best person for the job.

I also have to put the kibbosh on plans which postulate Bernanke as failing to receive reconfirmation but staying on the Board and letting Donald Kohn slide into the de fact #1 slot and everyone working together as before.  That's just not how things work.  Bernanke would more likely leave, plus outsiders would not know who was in charge or what the default was if the cooperation should break down.  The resulting reputational equilibrium would again prove unworkable or at least highly disadvantageous.

Overall when I read these discussions I realize that my theories of public choice are very, very different from those of some of the other commentators.


Comments for this post are closed