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January 20, 2010

Person of the Year

Time magazine recently named Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as their person of the year for 2009. What do you think of this choice?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"I think it certainly meets the standard that Time magazine has used to choose a person of the year. This is supposed to be a person who has had the most influence on events, whether that influence has been good or bad. And I do think that Bernanke over the last year -- probably more than any other person -- has had such an influence. Obviously in the last year, the economy has been issue Number One.

"Mitigating the effects of the recession, preventing the recession perhaps going into a depression, hastening the end of the recession -- all have been goals. And I think probably again, more than any other person, Bernanke has been at the point in doing that. He has enacted policies designed to deal with the recession. He has obviously also spanned two administrations, the Bush administration and now the Obama administration. Things like cutting interest rates, pumping up the money supply, developing loan programs: Bernanke has really taken the fed to places where it has never been before. And his actions have not only affected the broad economy, they have really affected virtually everyone in the country.

"So yes, I would agree with that choice. I think he meets the standard. Now Bernanke's future reputation I think is going to depend in part on how he winds these programs down because one of the concerns economists and others have if left in place, these programs could spark other negative aspects in the economy, particularly higher inflation."

Posted by deeshore at January 20, 2010 07:50 AM