TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: Let’s get reaction about the Bernanke re-nomination. Juli Niemann, analyst at the Smith Moore and Company. She joins us live from St. Louis this morning. Good morning Juli.
Juli Niemann: Morning Steve.
Chiotakis: So you called this sometime back. How does this announcement affect the jittery economy?
Niemann: Amazing prescience isn’t it? I pride myself on my sunny ability to grasp the obvious. But the key is here you don’t change horses mid-stream, not unless you want to drown. And the markets can’t stand upheaval, and any change at this point would have sent the markets into a tailspin. Bottom line is he says he can call the turn and rein in all this liquidity in time to keep inflation from being a huge problem. If he were not there to do it, who’s going to do it? It’s going to be his call.
Chiotakis: Yeah. Let’s hear from the man himself. Here’s the pledge that the Fed Chairman
made as he stood next to the president this morning:
Ben Bernanke: I will work to the utmost of my abilities with my colleagues at the Federal Reserve and along the Congress and the administration to help provide a solid foundation for growth and stability in an environment of price stability.
Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Steve Henn is gauging the reaction in Washington for us. Along with Juli Niemann, he joins us live as well. Steve, what are the political maneuvers going on in the Senate for this confirmation?
Steve Henn: Well Steve, unless there’s some kind of really enormous, unexpected crisis in the economy or some huge misstep, this is really probably a done deal in the Senate. It seems very unlikely that Bernanke is going to run into any significant problems. Christopher Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, has already released a statement saying, you know, despite serious difference he had with the Fed chairman in the past, Bernanke’s the right person for this job right now. You know this doesn’t mean that all fights in Washington over the Fed’s role in the economy — especially regulating the economy — are settled. But for now it’s a pretty safe bet that Bernanke will sail through the Senate’s nomination process.
Chiotakis: Juli, thoughts on the confirmation?
Niemann: Well there are lots of young trees, I mean young turks, that were stumping and bumping to succeed him as the world’s most important banker here. But Wall Street wants to know what will be happening. They know his policies, they know what he’s going to do, they don’t want to speculate on somebody else.
Chiotakis: And quickly Juli, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed its first quarterly increase in three years. Housing downturn buster?
Niemann: Well I did throw up a piece of confetti. This is the second great month that we’ve had, and it’s not great. Bottom line is we’re not plunging anymore, but we’re not turning. There’s been no splat here. And you have to keep in mind thss is seasonal. This is when everybody does basically get out there and move, and interest rates are still very facilitating here. But overhanging all of it: 7 million houses still unsold. So this is not cause for rejoicing, it’s just a little less pain.
Chiotakis: All right. Juli Niemann joining us live in St. Louis. Juli, thanks.
Niemann: You bet.
Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Steve Henn in Washington, thanks to you as well.
Henn: Sure thing.
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