Bernanke: Humble, intelligent and open-minded, but not easy to predict
Tuesday 25 October 2005
In the course of three decades of economic teaching, writing and policymaking, the man who will be the 14th chairman in Fed history has become remarkable for one thing: his ability to discuss the arcane and gloomy science in clear and simple language.
Mr Greenspan's speeches, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, have been masterpieces of obscure circumlocution. By dint of his job, Mr Bernanke must give little away - but at least he will do so with more style.
But the rest will be largely a mystery. "The Fed makes the man, not the man the Fed," an old saying runs, and even the iconic Alan Greenspan proved no exception to that rule. "Just like a Supreme Court nominee, we really won't know how Bernanke will vote until he is on the job," said Peter Morici, professor of business at Maryland University.
Like Mr Greenspan when he took over in 1987, Mr Bernanke approaches office widely regarded as a Republican (indeed, like his predecessor he served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under a Republican President).
In the event, the politically savvy Mr Greenspan proved a highly independent chairman, keeping a proper distance from Republican and Democratic president alike.
There is no reason to suppose Mr Bernanke will be different.
"He is very humble, very intelligent and very open-minded," says an economist who knows him well. "He respects the data and respects other people's point of view." Despite a celebrated 2002 speech in which he indicated he would tolerate a measure of inflation of that were required to dispel a threat of deflation, Mr Bernanke is regarded as an inflation hawk, an enthusiast for public inflation targeting, and a man of deep monetary learning.
His academic career reads like a roll call of America's great places of learning: a bachelor's degree from Harvard, a doctorate from MIT, and a teaching career at MIT, Stanford and Princeton - where he has been exposed to every point of view. Among his colleagues on the faculty is Paul Krugman, who has emerged as President Bush's most vitriolic critics, on the op-ed pages of the New York Times.
Unlike most central bankers, he also has a sense of humour. His only regret about moving to the Fed, he said upon moving to the central bank in 2002, was that he would have to wear a suit.
"My suggestion that governors should signal their commitment to public service by wearing Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts has so far gone unheeded."
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...