Ben Bernanke was Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis.
He remained at the helm as the Fed led the economy out of the crisis using unprecedented amounts of easy monetary stimulus.
For years, he and the Fed were the target of intense criticism from legislators.
Charles Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders recently shared the stage with Bernanke. He reflected on those often frustrating and stressful times. From Sonders:
Dr. Bernanke recounted a different ritual when he became the head of the Council of Economic Advisors under President George W. Bush (who was also a speaker at IMPACT this year), which was the job he held before he took over the Fed. The new chair gets presented a sign that says, “In case of emergency, open the bottom drawer. When you opened the bottom drawer, there was a bottle of scotch.”
I took that as an opportunity to ask whether he agreed with the view expressed by many (including yours truly) that politicians need to return to the days when liquor flowed more freely and there were more collegial relationships in Washington. His reply? “It couldn’t hurt.”
Sonders asked Bernanke how life has been since he retired.
“On the whole, people have been very nice,” he replied. “It was a very hard time; I’m sure that we didn’t do everything right. There was a lot of anger; a lot of people upset about the economy with good reason. But people have been very supportive. I’m very appreciative of that.”
Read Sonders’ whole summary at Schwab.com.