What Would You Ask Ben Bernanke?

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

Find me on:

This entry was posted on Sep 16, 2015 1:18:00 PM

and tagged Economics Lessons

Leave a comment

ask ben bernankeI was discussing the Federal Reserve with one of my colleagues the other day, who expressed the opinion that everyone shows the Fed too much deference. “People think they know exactly what they are doing!” he exclaimed.

On the contrary. Among people I speak with regularly, pretty much everyone (including myself) thinks they know better what should be done—that the Fed isn’t doing the job nearly as well as it could and should be. Deference to the Fed is not the first thing that comes to mind in these situations.

Hindsight is 20/20

I have noted these same tendencies when discussing sports; if you listen to talk radio, there are literally thousands of people who would be better in the pocket than, say, Tom Brady. The difference, of course, is that of actually having to execute in real time versus in hindsight. Mickey Mantle said it best: “I never knew how easy the game of baseball was until I got into the broadcasting booth.”

Getting a perspective on what has actually happened—and is likely to happen—as the Fed contemplates raising interest rates this week depends on an inside perspective, a perspective from someone who has been there and made those decisions. In the financial world, particularly when it comes to monetary policy, no one is better positioned to offer that perspective than former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

I will be interviewing Chairman Bernanke at Commonwealth’s National Conference this November, and I’m very excited about it. There are few people in the world who have made more of a difference in the world economy than he has. You might argue with many of the decisions the Bernanke Fed made in the heat of the moment, but to my mind, at least broadly speaking, his Fed did the right things—and has been vindicated by the results. In fact, I could make a good case that the economy would be much worse off than it is today, with our current steady recovery, without the Bernanke Fed.

That said, the crisis is in the past, and we need to plan for the future. For us as investors, as advisors, and as citizens, the world is clearly a different place than it was five or ten years ago. Rather than hash over decisions made during the crisis, I believe we should be looking forward, and our discussion should reflect that. Which brings me to the question . . .

What would you ask Ben Bernanke?

I have my own thoughts, of course, but I wanted to reach out and ask readers of this blog what you think. So send me your questions, either in the Comments section below or via direct e-mail.

I can’t (and don’t) promise to get to every question I receive—I won’t have time, for one thing—but I will certainly work common themes and concerns into the discussion.  

I will also report back! I expect to get a great deal of thoughtful insight from the session and will certainly share the highlights here. Thank you!

                      Subscribe to the Independent Market Observer            

Upcoming Appearances

Tune in to CNBC's Power Lunch on Wednesday, February 26, between 1:45 and 3:00 P.M. ET to hear Brad talk about the market. Exact interview time will be updated once confirmed. Check local listings for availability. 

Tune in to Bloomberg Radio's Bloomberg Businessweek on Friday, February 28, at 3:45 P.M. ET to hear Brad talk about the market. Stream the show live at https://www.bloombergradio.com/, listen through SiriusXM 119, or download Bloomberg's app, Bloomberg Radio+.

Subscribe via E-mail

New call-to-action
Crash-Test Investing
Commonwealth Independent Advisor

Hot Topics

Have a Question?

New Call-to-action

Conversations

Archives

see all

Subscribe

Disclosure

The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index.

The MSCI EAFE Index (Europe, Australasia, Far East) is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.  

Third party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites. Information on such sites, including third party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.

Member FINRASIPC

Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®