Speaking in an interview with PBS host Charlie Rose that aired Monday, President Obama hinted that he will not reappoint Ben Bernanke to a third term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke’s second term expires Jan. 31, 2014.
“He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted, or he was supposed to. Ben Bernanke’s a little bit like Bob Mueller, the head of the FBI – where he’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to,” explained the president, who announced reappointing Bernanke to a second term shortly after entering the White House. “He has been an outstanding partner along with the White House in helping us recover much stronger than, for example, our European partners from what could have been an economic crisis of epic proportions.”
President Obama did not respond when asked if he would reappoint Bernanke if he requested another term.
It has been speculated for months now that Bernanke would not seek a third term to helm the Fed. For the past few months, it has been reported that Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen would be appointed to lead the central bank. Economic Collapse News reported that most economists concur that she will succeed Bernanke, but many are not enthusiastic about it.
An announcement could come as early as autumn so he or she can go through the entire Congressional and Senate confirmation process and be ready to take over by the time Bernanke steps down from his post.
The average amount of time served as head of the Fed is about seven years. The longest-serving Chairman of the central bank is William McChesney Martin Jr., who served from 1951 to 1970 under five presidents. The second-longest is Alan Greenspan, who was first appointed by President Ronald Reagan and had a tenure stretching from 1987 to 2006 and worked under four presidents.
Following a two-day policy meeting this week, in which Bernanke will discuss the bond-buying initiative, he will hold a news conference on Wednesday. It is expected that Bernanke will announce when the stimulus program can be boosted or if it can start winding down over the course of the next few meetings.
Bernanke has been the Fed Chairman since 2006 when President George W. Bush nominated the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. He also served as a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors from 2002 to 2005.
Since the economic collapse in 2007 and 2008, Bernanke has been lauded for his aggressive monetary policy that saw him implement near-zero interest rates, expand the money supply, impose three stages of quantitative easing and acquire $85 billion each month of Treasurys and mortgage bonds.
During a Congressional hearing last month, Bernanke hinted that the Fed could ease back its expansive stimulus program if the data permitted it. In addition, many board members have been showing dissent and urging Bernanke to taper off the program, according to minutes released of the Fed meetings.
The Fed Chair has confirmed that near-zero interest rates will remain and the long-term bond purchases will persist as long as the unemployment rate sits above 6.5 percent and the labor market refrains from improving.