This season, Ben Bernanke was able to sit through an entire Nationals game.
During the financial meltdown in 2008, the then-chairman of the Federal Reserve would buy a lemonade and head to his seats two rows back from the Washington Nationals dugout, a respite from crisis. But often he would find himself huddling in the quiet of the stadium’s first-aid station or an empty stairwell for consultations on his BlackBerry about whatever economic catastrophe was looming.
“I think there was a reasonably good chance that, barring stabilization of the financial system, that we could have gone into a 1930s-style depression,” he says now in an interview with USA TODAY. “The panic that hit us was enormous — I think the worst in U.S. history.”
With publication of his memoir, The Courage to Act, on Tuesday by W.W. Norton & Co., Bernanke has some thoughts about what went right and what went wrong. For one thing, he says that more corporate executives should have gone to jail for their misdeeds. The Justice Department and other law-enforcement agencies focused on indicting or threatening to indict financial firms, he notes, “but it would have been my preference to have more investigation of individual action, since obviously everything what went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.”
He also offers a detailed rebuttal to critics who argue the government could and should have done more to rescue Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy in the worst weekend of a tumultuous time. “We were very, very determined not to let it collapse,” he says. “But we were out of bullets at that point.”
I happen to think Bernanke did a lot of good things right – and a few useless and wrong. Hindsight is always thrilling.
Please RTFA, watch the interview. USAToday doesn’t run the most stable online presence in American news; so, I hope all these links continue to work correctly. And, yes, I have my own list of individual crooks who should have done time – starting with everyone at the top of Countrywide Mortgage.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Former House of Representatives Republican Leader Tom DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after a jury found him guilty of money laundering and conspiracy.
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced DeLay, 63, to a five-year sentence for money laundering and three years for conspiracy for a scheme to illegally funnel money to Republican Texas candidates in 2002.
The judge allowed DeLay to serve 10 years probation in lieu of the five-year term, but ordered him to serve the three-year term with no probation.
Due to a potentially lengthy appeals process, it could be years before DeLay serves time, prosecutor Gary Cobb said.
Golly. There’s a surprise. The judicial system helping keep a pol out of prison.
DeLay, dubbed “The Hammer” for his hard-driving style, was found guilty on November 24 of conspiring to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate campaign donations to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature in the 2002 elections…
“Corporate contributions are illegal in Texas, and you can’t give them to candidates directly and you can’t give them to candidates indirectly,” Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said.
Republican hacks and their Supreme Court flunkies are working hard to change that, nationwide.