August 20, 2009

For Bernanke, job security is unclear

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to a policymaker retreat Thursday with no signal yet from the White House on how he is doing at his job.

His appointment as Fed chairman is up at the end of the year. But some say Bernanke's job is only half done, as a massive economic rescue effort must also be wound down as the economy edges toward normalcy.

Headed to the annual Fed retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke is confronted with the problem of when to raise interest rates before the historically low rates trigger a round of inflation through over-spending.

Bernanke is also faced with defending the Fed's position as the Obama administration pushes its goal of establishing a consumer protection agency for financial products.

We think the Fed can play a constructive role in protecting consumers, Bernanke has said.

Perhaps a conquering hero to some, the Times said, there are detractors, among them Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

Dodd has questioned giving the Fed more power when institutionally it seemed to have failed to prevent the current crisis?