Greg Ip

Articles by The Economist’s U.S. Economics Editor

Archive for August 2008

Mission creep at the Fed

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The credit crunch one year on

Aug 7th 2008 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition

In a special section marking the anniversary of the credit crunch, we start with the Federal Reserve. Its creative response to the crisis may have staved off catastrophe, but may also have put its independence at risk

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WHEN he was still in academia, Ben Bernanke once argued that Franklin Roosevelt’s greatest contribution to ending the Great Depression was not a specific policy, but his “willingness to be aggressive and to experiment…to do whatever it took to get the country moving again.” That would fairly describe how Mr Bernanke has battled perhaps the biggest financial crisis since FDR’s time, which erupted one year ago this week.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve has cast aside any notion that central bankers should be boring. He has slashed interest rates; rolled out a dizzying array of new lending programmes; backed the debt of Bear Stearns, a failing investment bank; agreed to lend to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, America’s troubled, quasi-private mortgage agencies; argued for fiscal stimulus and mortgage write-downs; and proposed an expansion of the Fed’s regulatory domain. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by gregip

August 7, 2008 at 10:22 pm