Could Bernanke lose his job?
It would appear to be a lock that Ben Bernanke will be reappointed chairman of the Federal Reserve. But questions have started to emerge about whether the Administration is committed to that course -- which raises the prospect of the unthinkable. Bernanke is considered one of the heroes of the battle to get the U.S. out of a terrible credit crisis.
According toThe Wall Street Journal, some members of Congress are uneasy about Bernanke's ability to handle an expanded role of the Fed. The paper reports, "If these new powers are going to be granted to the Fed, then maybe a professor of economics will never again be the best choice for the Fed chairman," said Darrell Issa (Republican, California).It would be an irony if the Fed's successful role in helping prevent a collapse of the banking system got the Congress to give the agency more power, only to turn on Bernanke because of his lack of experience as a manager.
Of course, the reappointment of any high federal official runs into political in-fighting. The Administration has a remarkably ambitious set of goals for overhauling the financial industry. It may have to do horse trading to get some members of Congress to go along with programs that are not popular, like buying toxic assets from banks using government money.
Bernanke could be sacrificed as part of a wider agenda.
Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.