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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 29th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Bernanke’s Reappointment with 30 Senators Voring NO! – 12 Democrats and 18 Republicans. WE LIKE THE 12 DEMOCRATS.

Subject: Bernanke’s Reappointment

Simon JohnsonEconomist and MIT Professor
Posted: January 28, 2010

Bernanke’s Reappointment: A Colossal Failure Of Governance.

Read More: 2010 , Alan Greenspan , Bailout , Banks , Ben Bernanke ,
Bernanke Reappointment , Bernanke Reconfirmation , Congress , Economic
Policy , Jobs Lost , Monetary Policy , Senate , The Fed , The Federal
Reserve , Transparency , Treasury , Unemployment , Wall Street ,
Business News

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When representatives of American power encounter officials in less
rich countries, they are prone to suggest that any failure to reach
the highest standards of living is due in part to weak political
governance in general and the failure of effective oversight in
particular. Current and former US Treasury officials frequently remark
this or that government “lacks the political will” to exercise
responsible economic policy or even replace a powerful official who
has clearly become a problem.

There is much to be said for this view. When a minister or even the
head of a strong government agency is no longer acting in the best
interests of any country – but is still backed by powerful special
interests – who has the authority, the opportunity, and the fortitude
to stand up and be counted?

Fortunately, our Constitution grants the Senate the power to approve
or disapprove key government appointments, and over the past 200 plus
years this has served many times as an effective check on both
executive authority and overly strong lobbies – who usually want their
own, unsuitable, person to be kept on the job.

Unfortunately, two massive failures of governance at the level of the
Senate also spring to mind: first, the strange case of Alan Greenspan,
which stretched over nearly two decades; second, Ben Bernanke,
reappointed today (Thursday).>

Greenspan, as you recall, was worshiped as some sort of economic
magician. Even his most asinine comments were seized upon by a legion
of acolytes. Instead of providing meaningful periodic oversight, every
Senate hearing was essentially a re-coronation.

And now we can look back over 20 years and be honest with ourselves:
Alan Greenspan contends for the title of most disastrous economic
policy maker in the recent history of the world.

Some on Wall Street, of course, would disagree – arguing that the
financial sector growth he fostered is not completely illusory, that
we have indeed reached a new economic paradigm due to the Greenspan
tonic of deregulation, neglect, and refusal to enforce the law. Prove
the ill-effects, they cry.

What part of 8 million net jobs lost since December 2007 do you still
not understand?

And now the same Greenspanians and their fellow travelers rally to the
support of Ben Bernanke’s troubled renomination. Certainly, they
concede that Bernanke was complicit in and continued many of
Greenspan’s mistakes through September 2008. But, they argue, he ran a
helluva bailout strategy after that point. And, in any case, if the
Senate had refused to reconfirm him – financial sector representatives
insist – there would have been chaos in the markets.

Take that last statement at face value and think about it. Have we
really reached the situation where the Senate as a body and individual
Senators – accomplished men and women, who stand on the shoulders of
giants – must bow down before financial markets and high-ranking
executives who are really just talking their book?

Here’s what markets really care about: credible fiscal policy,
sufficiently tough monetary policy, and the extent to which big banks
will be allowed to run amok – and then get bailed out again.

Reappointing Ben Bernanke solves none of our problems. In fact, given
his stated intentions, a Bernanke reappointment implies larger
bailouts in the future – thus compromising our budget further with
contingent liabilities, i.e., huge payments that we’ll have to make
next time there is a crisis. What kind of fiscal responsibility
strategy is this?

Rather than messing about with a meaningless (or damaging) freeze for
part of discretionary spending, the White House should fix the
financial system that – with too big to fail at its heart – has
directly resulted in doubling our net government debt to GDP ratio
from 40 percent (a moderate level) towards 80 percent (a high level)
in a desperate attempt to ward off a Second Great Depression.

If you think we can sort out finance with Ben Bernanke at the helm, it
was sensible to reappoint him. But when the time comes for members of
the Senate themselves to be held accountable, do not be surprised if
people point out that pushing Bernanke through – come what may – was
the beginning of the end for any serious attempt at reform.

Ultimately, sensible democratic governance prevails in the United
States. Sometimes it takes a while.

—————-========================—————————
Ben Bernanke has been confirmed by the Senate for a second term as
chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, by a vote of 70-30. His current
four-year term was set to expire Jan. 31, 2010.

Grouped by Home State:
Alabama:        Sessions (R-AL), Nay            Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska:            Begich (D-AK), Nay              Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Arizona:          Kyl (R-AZ), Yea                     McCain (R-AZ), Nay
Arkansas:       Lincoln (D-AR), Yea             Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California:     Boxer (D-CA), Nay                Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado:       Bennet (D-CO), Yea              Udall (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut:    Dodd (D-CT), Yea               Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware:         Carper (D-DE), Yea            Kaufman (D-DE), Nay
Florida:        LeMieux (R-FL), Nay             Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia:        Chambliss (R-GA), Yea         Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Hawaii:           Akaka (D-HI), Yea                Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho:            Crapo (R-ID), Nay                Risch (R-ID), Nay
Illinois:          Burris (D-IL), Yea                Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Indiana:        Bayh (D-IN), Yea                  Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa:             Grassley (R-IA), Nay            Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas:         Brownback (R-KS), Nay      Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky:     Bunning (R-KY), Nay           McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana:     Landrieu (D-LA), Yea          Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine:           Collins (R-ME), Yea              Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland:     Cardin (D-MD), Yea             Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts:  Kerry (D-MA), Yea         Kirk (D-MA), Yea
Michigan:        Levin (D-MI), Yea              Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota:     Franken (D-MN), Nay       Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi:    Cochran (R-MS), Yea         Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Missouri:        Bond (R-MO), Yea               McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana:        Baucus (D-MT), Yea            Tester (D-MT), Yea
Nebraska:       Johanns (R-NE), Yea           Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada:          Ensign (R-NV), Nay              Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire:  Gregg (R-NH), Yea       Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
New Jersey:   Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea      Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea       Udall (D-NM), Yea
New York:      Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea       Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Yea            Hagan (D-NC), Yea
North Dakota:   Conrad (D-ND), Yea      Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio:              Brown (D-OH), Yea              Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma:    Coburn (R-OK), Yea           Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon:          Merkley (D-OR), Nay         Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania:   Casey (D-PA), Yea           Specter (D-PA), Nay
Rhode Island:   Reed (D-RI), Yea             Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay      Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota:   Johnson (D-SD), Yea     Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee:       Alexander (R-TN), Yea     Corker (R-TN), Yea
Texas:  Cornyn       (R-TX), Nay                Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah:   Bennett      (R-UT), Yea                 Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Vermont:           Leahy (D-VT), Yea           Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia:           Warner (D-VA), Yea         Webb (D-VA), Yea
Washington:  Cantwell (D-WA), Nay       Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia:    Byrd (D-WV), Yea         Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin:     Feingold (D-WI), Nay        Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming:         Barrasso (R-WY), Yea    Enzi (R-WY), Yea

—————–

There were 30 “NO” votes, including 12 Democrats and 18 Republicans.
Here’s the full list of NOs:

Begich (D-AK)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Ensign (R-NV)
Feingold (D-WI)
Franken (D-MN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kaufman (D-DE)
LeMieux (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sanders (I-VT)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (D-PA)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)

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One Response to “Bernanke’s Reappointment with 30 Senators Voting NO! – 12 Democrats and 18 Republicans. WE LIKE THE 12 DEMOCRATS.”

  1. John Lowery Says:

    The fix is in. Kudos to the 30. The 70, including two republicns from my state, voted against accountability. The congress put us where we are today. The fed is an abomination that Jefferson warned us about. The problem happened on Bernanke’s watch. He should have gone down with the ship.

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