No joke: Time names Fed Chairman "Person of the Year"

Bleeding Heartland user American007 noted not long ago that Time Magazine often gives its "Person of the Year" award to people attempting to deal with a weak economy. So it was this year, when Time's editors laughably chose Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke:

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

I wish I were joking, but here's more from Time:

The overriding story of 2009 was the economy -- the lousiness of it, and the fact that it wasn't far lousier. It was a year of escalating layoffs, bankruptcies and foreclosures, the "new frugality" and the "new normal." It was also a year of green shoots, a rebounding Dow and a fragile sense that the worst is over. Even the big political stories of 2009 -- the struggles of the Democrats; the tea-party takeover of the Republicans; the stimulus; the deficit; GM and Chrysler; the backlash over bailouts and bonuses; the furious debates over health care, energy and financial regulation; the constant drumbeat of jobs, jobs, jobs -- were, at heart, stories about the economy. And it's Bernanke's economy.

In 2009, Bernanke hurled unprecedented amounts of money into the banking system in unprecedented ways, while starting to lay the groundwork for the Fed's eventual return to normality. He helped oversee the financial stress tests that finally calmed the markets, while launching a groundbreaking public relations campaign to demystify the Fed. Now that Obama has decided to keep him in his job, he has become a lightning rod in an intense national debate over the Fed as it approaches its second century.

But the main reason Ben Shalom Bernanke is TIME's Person of the Year for 2009 is that he is the most important player guiding the world's most important economy. His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression, and he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future. The decisions he has made, and those he has yet to make, will shape the path of our prosperity, the direction of our politics and our relationship to the world.

Reality check: Bernanke has no plan to deal with unemployment, even though the "Federal Reserve Act dictates that one of the founding directives of the Federal Reserve is to 'promote effectively the goals of maximum employment.'"

But Bernanke is wild about cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Hooray for our "mild-mannered economic overlord"!

The Senate Banking Committee votes on Bernanke's renomination tomorrow, and he is expected to pass. However, three senators have said they will put a hold on his renomination when it reaches the floor.

I agree that the current recession could have deepened without the federal stimulus bill, especially if we had imposed the federal spending freeze Republicans wanted. But the stimulus should have been larger and better targeted toward job creation. Bernanke doesn't favor any additional federal stimulus to create jobs. He shouldn't even get another term at the Fed, let alone "Person of the Year."

Tags: Ben Bernanke, Economic Policy, Economy, Federal Reserve, person of the year, unemployment (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman
One thing to remember is that Time says their "Person of the Year" is about importance and influence, not about deserving it.
It is neither an honor nor a censor.  Putin won it sometime in the last few years because like it or not he influenced global politics to a significant degree for an individual.  In this economy it makes sense to me they would chose someone who in theory is in charge of the largest economy in the world's strategy to end the recession.  Now maybe Time should know better that the title and the office may not actually deliver.  But the point is that Time's naming him to Person of the Year is not an endorsement of his performance or priorities.
by goodleh 2009-12-16 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman

Ya, Person of the Year is supposed to be merely someone who is news worthy - good or bad. Not an endorsement of said person.

However most Americans view it as a prize or award, in effect an endoresement.

by vecky 2009-12-16 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman

Hitler and Stalin have won it after all...

by pierredude 2009-12-16 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman

The article is laudatory claiming Bernanke saved the country.  Time didn't think Bernanke was another Hitler, Stalin or Hoover.  They thought he was great.

What fools and tools the MSM are.

by David Kowalski 2009-12-16 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman

I stopped paying attention to times person of the year when they made "me" person of the year.

by vecky 2009-12-16 10:12AM | 0 recs
This is Time's punk of America!

 Time figures that if they can give Obama the Afghan war surge master a Nobel peace prize  Then they should be able to give Bernanke their "Man of the year" prize. America we've been Punked!

by eddieb 2009-12-16 06:49AM | 0 recs
Bernanke

John McCain is to announce that he is voting against Bernanke's confirmation so that makes five by my count.

Sanders, Bunning, Cantwell, DeMint.

by Charles Lemos 2009-12-16 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Bernanke

Who wants to wager a bet that if McCain somehow won the election he would have renominated Bernanke?

by pierredude 2009-12-16 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Bernanke

If McCain opposes Bernanke it makes me think he (Bernanke) might not be so bad afterall.

But I'm no maverick.

by vecky 2009-12-16 11:40AM | 0 recs
Well duh

by ND22 2009-12-16 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chairman

I actually respect Bernanke.  He was put into a horrible situation by W, and he did his best, never seemed partisan.

I have heard rumors that Bernanke does not think highly of Bush, but those are just rumors.  

by agpc 2009-12-16 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: No joke: Time names Fed Chair

I gotta think we are nearing the breaking point of the string of bad news days...

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-16 04:27PM | 0 recs

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