Caroline Salas Gage
August 8, 2013
The unprecedented frenzy surrounding Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s potential successor shows that Americans won’t let the central bank go back to its opaque and secretive ways.
The backlash that resulted from Bernanke’s bailouts during the financial crisis and his record expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet has pushed the central bank toward openness at the fastest pace in its 100-year history. His introduction of regular press conferences in 2011 is just one of his recent initiatives.
That scrutiny has persisted as the U.S. economy has struggled to gain momentum and led to an unparalleled public debate over the next chairman, according to Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington who researches the relationship between the Fed and Congress.
The central bank’s decision to adopt unconventional policies has “heightened consequences of what the Fed does and who leads it,” Binder said. Such action “has so much impact on the economy and people’s lives.”
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