GOP to take aim at Bernanke

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Federal Reserve today starts its latest round of buying up Treasury bonds. Over the coming months, the Fed will invest $600 billion buying U.S. and corporate debt. Many on Capitol Hill, particularly newly reinvigorated Republicans, plan to grill Fed chief Ben Bernanke about the move. They worry the Federal Reserve might be a wee-bit too independent.

Marketplace's David Gura reports.

David Gura: Some Republicans don't think that the Fed pumping more money into the U.S. Economy is a good idea. Sarah Palin says Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke should "cease and desist." And some criticize the Fed itself. Congressman Ron Paul is next in line to chair the subcommittee that oversees monetary policy.

Jerry O'Driscoll: He's going to torture Bernanke.

Jerry O'Driscoll is a fellow at the CATO Institute. Congress tortures with hearings, he says. But Ron Paul says the real torture is the threat of inflation and a devalued dollar if the Fed just keeps printing money. And so Bernanke should answer questions about his policies.

Ron Paul: He's going to be tortured by current events, he's gonna be tortured by the economy. He's going to be tortured by the fact that his policies are failed.

Economist Allan Meltzer says the problem is the Fed doesn't have an overseer.

Allan Meltzer: I don't think that's a good arrangement, and I don't think it's one that the public, if they understood it, would want.

And that's the real issue. Americans don't understand what the Fed really does, or the consequences. Next year, with a Congress, they may get the chance to learn a whole lot more.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...