Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been named “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine. Easy to understand, the economy has been the all consuming topic of this last year and Bernanke has been at the tiller. Beginning over a year ago I have consistently called Bernanke, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and current Secretary Timothy Geithner, “the right men, in the right place, at the right time.” We owe these three a huge debt of gratitude for guiding our economy through the most difficult problems since the “Great Recession.”
I have also consistently said they understood the basic situation, the largest single component of our assets - derivatives, securitized debt, collateralized debt, mortgage backed securities, and several other “exotic” investments - were basically sound. They had lost incredible amounts of value because of panic driven erroneous devaluations of these. They understood that by entering the market and taking temporary control of these assets they could stabilize the markets.
And indeed that is what happened. Starting with the TARP they injected Fed funds into the economy to allow time for these assets to regain their true value. It happened faster than they, or anyone else, expected. Believe it or not most of the TARP funds have been repaid and with a tidy profit for Uncle Sam.
Again, thank God we had Bernanke, as well as Paulson and Geithner, in the right place at the right time.