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Bernanke & Geithner- Heroes or Zeroes?

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bailoutgrafitti by NYC Urban Decay at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dearchicago/3447713900/ Read an article in the Investing column at WSJ titled “Dodging the Big One” by James Stewart.

The columnist argues the point that the world is better off because of what Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner have done over slightly more than one year to avert a depression.

I tend to agree with this view and while there were some mistakes, the breath and scope of the bailout and stimulus were essential in stabilizing the financial markets in USA and the world.

Compared to what had happened in the early 1930s, the policy responses of the Fed and Treasury Secretaries were the difference between the relative stability now and plunging to an abyss of a Greater Depression.

It took World War 2 for spending levels to increase sufficiently for USA and the world to escape from the chains of the Depression and the misguided protectionist policies implemented then.

The concerted efforts by the financial honchos in the world to put massive amounts of credit into the markets sized up by disappearing credit at the end of 2008 makes it unnecessary for World War 3 to break out to save us all.

One interesting thing about Geithner is that he was partially educated in Asia- India and Thailand where he once studied at the International School Bangkok. He is also a Sinophile. He studied Mandarin at Peking University and Beijing Normal University in 1982. So if he needs China to revalue its Yuan, he probably can use his Chinese to talk to them directly. Not that it may need to, as the US$ has been dropping like a stone over the months.

Ben Bernanke’s profile is also interesting. He is obviously quite an intellectual- he had a near perfect SAT score of 1590 out of 1600. He also studied the Great Depression as a scholar. So he was the perfect choice to be the Fed leader to bring us all out from the brink.

So my take is that they are more heroes than zeroes with due respect to the artist who decorated the fence.

Oh, by the way, just heard over Bloomberg TV that there is speculation that Facebook is going to do an IPO listing soon.


1. Ben Bernanake’s Wiki profile

2. Timothy Geithner’s Wiki profile

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