Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Congress is to blame

Much like Bob Gates, who sharply criticized Congress after he left office after wisely courting it during his tenure, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has tough words about lawmakers in his new memoir.

His sharpest words, however, are reserved for Congress. Mr. Bernanke, a former economics professor at Princeton, often seemed to suffer through his appearances before lawmakers; he writes of those encounters, “It was inevitable that they would ask questions for all sorts of purposes, but rarely because they were curious about the answer.”

He also expresses puzzlement that politicians who were friendly in person would sometimes turn on him in public settings. “I could never get used to the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of politicians,” he writes. Most of all, however, he chastises Congress for damaging the economy, citing several episodes, including the 2013 government shutdown.

“I also felt frustrated that fiscal policy makers, far from helping the economy, appeared to be actively working to hinder it,” Mr. Bernanke says.
I agree that Congress failed to use its fiscal tools to aid the economic recovery -- and it undermined America's international financial leadership by failing to enact IMF reforms, thus isolating the United States and letting China take the lead.

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