Please, Let the Next Fed Chief Be Dull

Federal Reserve and its recent leaders have gotten too big for their britches: Amar Bhide
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2013 11:51 AM CDT
Please, Let the Next Fed Chief Be Dull
A file photo of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Even casual observers of DC politics probably know that Larry Summers and Janet Yellen are the leading candidates to replace Ben Bernanke as the Fed chair. And that's a problem, writes Amar Bhide in the New York Times. He thinks the position of Fed chief has become way too high-profile under Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan. What's more, the Federal Reserve itself is trying to do too much through its monetary policy. Everyone seems to have forgotten "the proper nature of the central bank’s role in the economy," writes Bhide. "Instead of casting about for a new maestro, we need to return the Fed to dullness and its chairman to obscurity."

Forget "quantitative easing" and the rest. Isn't it time for the Fed to get back to the basics of old-fashioned bank oversight? Consider that both Greenspan and Bernanke missed the looming housing bubble. That's because the Fed "seemingly lost all capacity for the painstaking, boots-on-the-ground supervision of the banks under its purview," writes Bhide. "Running what amounts to a hedge fund on steroids is more glamorous and exciting than managing a regulatory bureaucracy," he adds, but that's exactly what the Fed's top priority should be. Which means the next Fed chief must possess a quality rarely found in Washington—"humility." Click for Bhide's full column. (Read more Federal Reserve stories.)

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