Time magazine on Wednesday announced Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as its 2009 Person of the Year. Bernanke will be featured on the cover of the magazine that hits stores Friday…
Time called Bernanke “the most powerful nerd on the planet.”
“The story of the year was a weak economy that could have been much, much weaker. Thank the man who runs the Federal Reserve, our mild-mannered economic overlord,” the article said.
Bernanke is considered a scholar of the Great Depression. A series of his writings were compiled into the book “Essays of the Great Depression.”
Michael Grunwald, who authored Time’s article, on Wednesday told NBC’s “Today” that “basically [Bernanke] saw what looked like another depression coming, and he decided he would do whatever it takes to forestall that. And basically, I think he did. It could have been a lot worse.”
Grunwald said, “There are things that he could have done better. One of his responsibilities is for full employment in society, and he hasn’t really stepped up on that, but basically in terms of influencing how the economy went this year, Bernanke was the guy…”
Bernanke was sworn in as Federal Reserve chairman in February 2006. He spent years in academia, as a professor at Princeton, Stanford and New York universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…
Grunwald’s piece aims a little below the lowest common denominator. Even a few Republicans comprehend that Bernanke is not responsible for implementing programs to miraculously provide full employment overnight. Not that they will admit it during the coming mid-term elections.
Bernanke’s expertise in Keynesian reforms and programs derives from his study of what happened when our government did just about everything wrong in the 1930’s – until Roosevelt paid attention to Maynard Keyne’s suggestions. And that great depression was exacerbated by foolishness centered in European banks – not the US crew. Bernanke has the tools added by Leontiev’s macro-economics.
Obama’s implementation is slow and steady as it should be. I doubt we’ll ever hit more than a small percentage of people [and bloggers] who understand that “full employment” means only about half the current number of unemployed – and has been so since the days of Eisenhower.