Be­hind Bars?

Forbes - - Inside Scoop -

The ex-chair­man of the Fed­eral Re­serve Ben Ber­nanke told USA To­day that more cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives should have gone to jail for their role in the fnan­cial panic of 2008–09. “It would have been my pref­er­ence to have more in­ves­ti­ga­tion [by the Jus­tice De­part­ment and other law en­force­ment agen­cies] of in­di­vid­ual ac­tion, since ob­vi­ously ev­ery­thing that went wrong or was il­le­gal was done by some in­di­vid­ual, not by an ab­stract frm.”

If we’re go­ing to be hand­ing out go-to-jail cards for cul­pa­bil­ity for the dis­as­ter of 2008–09, then one of the frst should go to Ber­nanke him­self. His poli­cies at the Fed and those of his pre­de­ces­sor were the pri­mary rea­son for the de­ba­cle. Worse, what Ber­nanke did in the af­ter­math of the panic is the cru­cial rea­son that the U.S. and global economies are in such sorry shape to­day. For that he de­serves a stif sen­tence, with no prospect of pa­role!

In the early 2000s the Fed­eral Re­serve, in ca­hoots with the U.S. Trea­sury De­part­ment, un­der­took a pol­icy to de­lib­er­ately and grad­u­ally weaken the dol­lar. The pur­pose was twofold: to help “stim­u­late” re­cov­ery from the 2000–01 re­ces­sion and to boost ex­ports, the the­ory be­ing that a cheap green­back would mean lower prices for the over­seas buy­ers of our prod­ucts and ser­vices.

Ber­nanke, who joined the Fed­eral Re­serve Board in

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