Ask Ben Bernanke Some Hard Questions

Mark Skousen

Mark Skousen, Ph. D., is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Ben Bernanke, two-term chairman of the Federal Reserve (2006-2014), came to the SALT conference this week in Las Vegas, and was interviewed by Bloomberg editor Erik Schatzker. The interview was not allowed to be televised or streamed, so I expected some fireworks with some tough questions.

Unfortunately, all we witnessed were softball questions that bored the audience to tears. (I saw hundreds checking their cell phones.) Sadly, the audience was not allowed to ask questions. I would have been the first in line.

Here are two questions I would have asked.

  1. In January, 2007, you gave a talk called “Bank Regulation” before the annual American Economic Association meetings, in which you used the words “panic” and “crisis” at least 34 times. You apparently knew trouble was brewing. As the nation’s chief banker, you knew about the irresponsible sub-prime and no-documentation mortgage loans (John Allison’s BB&T bank and other commercial banks refused to participate in this clear violation of the “prudent man” rule in banking). Yet for two years before the mortgage crisis hit (2008), you, as head of the Fed and top bank regulator, allowed this fraud to continue. Shouldn’t you have resigned or been fired for this dereliction of duty?
  1. You passed on discussing whether the banking industry is overregulated as a result of Dodd-Frank, passed in 2010. Since then, not a single community bank has been approved. What steps would you take to re-establish a vibrant banking community?

While I think we can all agree that Bernanke was not the leadership the Federal Reserve exactly needed during a difficult time for the markets, I almost wish that he was the Fed chair right now, just so I could see how he would hold up in a different kind of market environment, and under a very different president.

Exclusive  Daily Data Flow: Stocks Fall; Bonds Risky; Obama's New Tax Hike

In 2014, when Janet Yellen took over the reigns of the Federal Reserve, there was a lot placed on her shoulders. Thankfully, regardless of any flaws she might have, Yellen is a cool customer. She plays her cards close to her chest and doesn’t make it easy for markets to guess her next move. She was also willing to propose and champion some very controversial (at the time) policies, such as beginning to hike interest rates after nearly a decade of inaction by the Fed.

Maybe that should’ve been my third question for Ben Bernanke, what do you think of Janet Yellen’s leadership?

Like This Article?
Now Get Mark's FREE Special Report:
3 Dividend Plays with Sky-High Returns

This newly-released report by a top-20 living economist details three investments that are your best bets for income and appreciation for the rest of the year and beyond.

Get Access to the Report, 100% FREE

previous article

Investment expert Dr. Mark Skousen shares on why he thinks long-term investing ultimately edges out short-term trading.


Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen publishes 5 different investment newsletter advisories, including the award-winning Forecasts & Strategies, which has beaten the market over the last 15 years.

Product Details


Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays. Bryan's four newsletter and trading services include:

Product Details


Jim Woods

A 20-plus-year veteran of the markets, Jim Woods has varied experience as a broker, hedge fund trader, financial writer, author and newsletter editor.

Product Details


Bob Carlson

In Bob's monthly newsletter, Retirement Watch, he provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details


Mike Turner

Mike’s financial, mathematical, computer science and engineering background serves as the foundation for his disciplined, rules-based approach to trading. Mike’s three services include:

Product Details


Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.