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Later this month Ben S. Bernanke will step down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, after guiding the institution and economy through one of the worst periods in its 100-year history.
Bernanke, became chairman in 2006, there after he confronted a housing bust, mortgage industry collapse, and global financial crisis, attacking them with bold measures that pushed the central bank to the limits of its legal authority.
But somehow, he, like many economists, lawmakers, and policy makers, failed to foresee the crisis in the first place, allowing bubbles in the economy to swell to their inevitable breaking point.
He facilitated to engineer massive bailouts of big banks that may have barred the collapse of the financial system, but also fuelled suspicions regarding the Federal Reserve, its secrecy, and connections to Wall Street.
Bernanke, who steps down on Jan. 31, opened the Fed’s Kremlin-esque culture by growing its communications with the public and even appearing on TV shows, including “60 Minutes.”
He will also be leaving an economy that is finally appearing to be gaining traction after facing the worst recession in 70 years.