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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens to opening statements during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill -- June 25, 2009. - 


Bill Radke: The capitol's humming today with President Obama hosting the White House job summit, and Ben Bernanke seeking another term as Federal Reserve chair as he goes before the Senate Banking Committee. Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports on the great Bernanke debate.

John Dimsdale: Even Ben Bernanke's many defenders in the Senate say they have some tough questions: Why did he lend banks so much interest-free money? Why did he bail out insurance giant AIG?

Alan MELTZER: Congress is very concerned about the Fed when there are problems. Most of the time they don't give a damn.

Alan Meltzer has written a history of the Fed that comes out next month.

MELTZER: Now there's unhappiness. Partly based upon errors that the Fed made. And partly based upon just public complaints about the fact that things are not working the way the public would like them to work.

Despite the anger, most Fed watchers, like Meltzer -- and like Columbia Business School's Frederic Mishkin -- expect Bernanke to be reconfirmed.

Frederic MISHKIN: I'd rather have somebody who goes out there and really makes the tough decisions. If you instead do what was done during the 1930s when the Federal Reserve did nothing, we ended up with a Depression.

Ben Bernanke's current chairmanship expires at the end of January.

In Washington I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.