Bernanke's tenure measured by March

May 28, 2008 at 11:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke won over critics with unprecedented policy moves made in March, economists say.

Not every economist is enamored with the Fed's moves to open lending beyond the traditional territory of commercial banks or with the seven lending rate cuts made since September, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

But, the March policy moves, now referred to inside the Fed as the Bernanke Doctrine, have included "a really head-spinning range of unprecedented and bold actions," Columbia Business School professor of finance Charles Calomiris told the Times.

"That's exactly as it should be," he said.

The Bush-appointee has even impressed some Democrats.

"He's made believers out of people who were just not sure about him before," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who chairs the Joint Economic Committee. Others say the series of lending rate cuts, dropping bank rates from 5.75 percent to 2 percent, have risked pushing inflation and weakening the dollar.

"I frankly don't think there is more that the Fed can do," said Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University economics professor and former economic adviser to Ronald Reagan.

"They may have done too much," he said.

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