Ben Bernanke has been Chairman of the Federal Reserve since February 1, 2006 and his chairmanship ends this month. No need to shed a tear though, he will stick around as a board member until 2020.
Plus, there is good news, chickadees! Janet Yellen will replace Ben, if the senate approves her today. If yay, she will blaze a trail for me & lady economists, as Janet Yellen will be the first lady to be Federal Reserve Chairman! She’s just as fabulous as us, Janet’s book is called The Fabulous Decade: Macroeconomic Lessons from the 1990s.
More to come about Janet Yellen, but today I want to give you a “bird’s eye view” of Ben Bernanke’s time as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Last week, Ben Bernanke said ta-ta in this speech, summing up his time as Chairman. The following is what he wants to be remembered for:
Transparency and accountability
Ben Bernanke broke with the past and during Ben’s chairmanship, everyone who wanted to know, could easily find out how America’s money is being managed. (Psst, the Federal Reserve is the U.S.’s central bank.) Ben became a TV star, print journalism prince, and a social media darling.
Financial stability & reform
Crises like 2008 and the fixes of post-2008 are nothing new. What was “different” this time was the complexity of our contemporary economy. (Psst, Bettie funnily explained the clusterf*** that was 2008 here.) Luckily, Ben Bernanke was a Great Depression expert even before his Chairmanship and used his knowledge to correct the economy during The Great Recession of 2008. Unfortunately, the reforms are a needle in a haystack, but better than nothing.
We have Ben Bernanke and his monetary policy to thank for the near zero interest rates on our savings accounts. Interest rates so close to zero are good to get the economy back on track (AKA it’s very cheap to borrow and build businesses), but personally don’t make me feel great when I review my monthly savings account statement. He had good intentions and Bernanke’s monetary policy saved the U.S. from something much worse.
Ben Bernanke will be missed. He was a big deal. How big of a deal? A fellow economist wrote a song about him—and we know when a man writes a song about you, it’s serious!
See, economists can be fun…in their own way!
(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)