The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Briggs or Will Wiquist (202) 224-5141

Four Reasons Why Democrats Should Oppose the Bernanke Reappointment


In a letter to Senate colleagues, Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) today offered four reasons why Democrats should oppose the
reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Here is the

Democratic Colleague:

The American people today are suffering through the worst economy since the
Great Depression with 17.3 percent of the American workforce either
unemployed or underemployed. Millions more have lost their homes, their
savings, their health care and their pensions. At a time like this let me
provide four reasons why Ben Bernanke should not be confirmed as chairman of
the Fed.

1) Not
only was Mr. Bernanke first nominated to the Fed by President George W. Bush,
but he served in the Bush administration as chairman of the Council of
Economic Advisors. Let us never forget that the Bush years, even before the
collapse of Wall Street, were an economic disaster for the average American.
Mr. Bernanke, who was recently endorsed for reappointment by Alan Greenspan,
played a major role in the deregulatory efforts that enabled major financial
institutions to engage in reckless and illegal behavior. The American people
gave us the responsibility to bring about change, not the maintenance of the
status quo. Why, at this difficult moment in American history, should we
reappoint Wall Street's candidate as chairman of the Fed?

2) One
of the main functions of the Fed is to maintain the safety and soundness of
our financial system. No one can deny that Mr. Bernanke, as chairman of the
Fed, was asleep at the wheel while Wall Street became the largest gambling
casino in the history of the world and hurtled into insolvency - at
enormous cost to our country. Not since the Great Depression has our
financial system been as unsafe, unsound and unstable than under Ben
Bernanke's tenure as chairman of the Fed. Why should Mr. Bernanke be
rewarded with reappointment after he failed so terribly to do his job?

3) As
part of the bailout, the Fed lent out trillions of dollars in virtually zero-interest
loans to large financial institutions. Mr. Bernanke has consistently refused
to provide the transparency needed so that the American people can learn which
banks received those loans and the terms that were provided to them. In
addition, the Fed continues to keep secret a number of documents related to
its role in the AIG bailout. Why should this type of secrecy be tolerated?

4) The
Fed, today, has the tools to significantly improve our economy and a mandate
to conduct monetary policy in support of full employment. It has the
authority to protect consumers by lowering the outrageously high interest
rates that millions are paying. It has the authority to provide low-interest
loans to credit-worthy small and medium size business that are in desperate
need of that capital which will enable them to create the new jobs our
economy needs. It has the authority to require bailed out banks to modify
home loans to allow homeowners to stay in their homes. It has the authority
to begin breaking up those huge financial institutions that, in a number of
cases, are even bigger today than they were when we bailed them out because
they were "too big to fail."

Instead of confirming one of the key architects of George Bush's
economic agenda, a new nominee could transform the Fed into a central bank
committed to the needs of the middle class of this country rather than
powerful Wall Street executives responsible for the worst economic crisis
since the Great Depression.

see a copy of the letter, click here.

United States Senator for Vermont

(202) 224-5141