The US economy is "expanding moderately", but there are still clouds on the horizon, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in his latest statement on America's financial health.
Near Bernanke's desk hangs a portrait of the central bankers whose tightfisted caution deepened the Depression.
At least twice a week, Bernanke walks next door from his office to sit at a 2-ton, 27-ft.-long table carved out of Honduran mahogany and black granite. Perhaps the most important group he meets with is the Federal Open Market Committee, the group that oversees monetary policy. On the far wall, a 1937 map of the 12 Federal Reserve districts hangs above artifacts of U.S. currency, including a rare $500 bill.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has repeatedly warned lawmakers that a fiscal cliff threatens the economy.
Most recently Bernanke has launched Operation Twist, an attempt to drive long-term interest rates even lower by manipulating the Fed's $1.7 trillion portfolio of U.S. government debt.
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After 2 rounds of quantitative easing, the last of which injected some $600 billion into the U.S. economy, Bernanke is not ruling out QE3, yet another round of money creation.
In view of his current position as fed chair, Bernanke also sits on the newly established Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversees the Troubled Assets Relief Program. His future as Federal Reserve chairman became uncertain on November 21, 2008 when it was announced that President-elect Barack Obama would name Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary over Larry Summers, leading to speculation that Obama was positioning Summers as Bernanke's successor.
On February 1, 2006, he was appointed as a member of the Board for a fourteen-year term and to a four-year term as Chairman. In one of his first speeches, entitled Deflation: Making Sure It Doesn't Happen Here, he outlined what has been referred to as the Bernanke Doctrine.
Bernanke succeeded Alan Greenspan on February 1, 2006. He is ranked 4th most powerful person in the world in an annual ranking by Newsweek. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Bernanke was raised in a ranch house on East Jefferson Street in Dillon, South Carolina.
Bernanke grew up in Dillon, S.C., where his father worked as a pharmacist and his mother as a teacher. He graduated summa cum laude in economics from Harvard University (1975) and earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; 1979). His first professorial appointment was at Stanford University, where he taught economics from 1979 to 1985.
Ben Bernanke, in full Benjamin Shalom Bernanke (born Dec. 13, 1953, Augusta, Ga., U.S.), American economist, who was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Fed; 2006– ).