Too often when people talk about being a good consumer or being educated about financial matters, the big picture is ignored in favor of images of individual wealth and well-being. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben “It rhymes with stanky” Bernanke says that it’s really in everyone’s best interest for us to be smart about what we do with our money.
For the last two years, all upbeat statements about the economy have been followed with a huge “but,” and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben “Feel the” Bernanke isn’t going to buck that trend.
Ben Bernanke doesn’t like systemic risk! Shocking, we know. In a speech he gave in Orlando, Florida, the Chairman expressed outrage at the bailouts of too big to fail companies and said shareholders should not be sheltered from losses.
“We are hopeful that the very sharp decline we saw beginning last fall through early this year will moderate considerably in the near term and we will see positive growth by the end of the year,” Bernanke told the Joint Economic Committee.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office is at it again. They’ve been investigating the circumstances that led to the merger of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch and the subsequent bonus payments to executives. In a letter to Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Cuomo quotes Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis as saying that former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson threatened him with removal from his position and mass firing of the board and senior management if he didn’t allow the merger to go through.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested today, while testifying before the House Budget Committee, that Congress should consider passing some sort of economic stimulus package that would improve access to credit by homebuyers and other borrowers.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke shared some thoughts on health care reform from “an economist’s perspective” today. He was short on proposals, but did suggest that we concentrate our attention on improving the cost-effectiveness of our health care system:
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wants to consolidate the nation’s financial regulators into a tripartite gang that can save the economy from distress and doom. The plan to give the Federal Reserve broad new regulatory powers and streamline the regulatory community has been in the works since last March, before the start of the subprime meltdown. Paulson is worried that the U.S. markets are no longer competitive with maturing world markets, some of which aren’t hampered by nuisances like regulation. After the jump we’ll explain the consumer impact of the plan and introduce you to your three new regulators.
In a speech today Feddy Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that even steeper interest rates could be in the works. His strong language suggests that they’re considering a half-point drop, down from the current rate of 4.25%. If they follow through, the cut would be expected to be announced at the next Reserve Board meeting on January 29th. Last time rates were cut we took a look at how it affects the price of a bushel of corn in Kansas, i.e., you the average consumer, and another rate cut would be more of the same.