For better or worse, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has become a pillar of the U.S. economic recovery. As the face and primary mouthpiece of the Fed, Bernanke has assumed responsibility for current monetary policy and has been both blamed and credited — sometimes rightly so, and sometimes without justification — for the ups and downs of the post-crisis period.
It would be hard to find anyone willing to say that Bernanke has had a perfect track record, and the point here is not to idolize the chairman. There is certainly room for righteous criticism of current Fed policy, but there is also considerable evidence suggesting that without intervention from the central bank the slow recovery of the past few years — particularly in the equity markets — would have been even slower.
In the middle of May, Bloomberg published the results of a global poll of 906 decision makers in finance, markets, and economics. A majority of respondents (61 percent) indicated that they believed the U.S. economy was improving, whereas just 24 percent believed the global economy was improving. This view was supported by the fact that 57 percent of respondents believed that the U.S. Federal Reserve was doing the best job of handling the problems facing its economy. By and large, this indicates a high level of net approval for Bernanke’s policies, despite some justified criticism.
We take a look at the various reasons investors and economic leaders believe the Fed is navigating the post-crisis era better than anyone else.