Ben Bernanke takes post at Brookings Institution

Feb. 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Brookings Institution in Washington said Monday its newest employee is former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Bernanke will take a position as distinguished fellow in residence at the New Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the institution said a day after Bernanke stepped aside as the central bank chairman, where he guided monetary policy through some of the most tumultuous years in U.S. economic history.

Bernanke took over the central bank in 2006. "He was sworn in as Fed chairman ... unaware that fissures were opening in the foundations of the U.S. economy and financial system," the institution said.

Former Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen was sworn into office Monday as Bernanke's successor.

Bernanke led the Fed through the fiscal crisis of 2008 and helped shape key policies, such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which started as a $700 billion program to buy toxic assets from seriously ailing financial firms. It ended up being used for a variety of bailouts in an effort to keep credit available to keep the economy afloat.

Two years after being sworn in to office, in 2008, Bernanke became the "rescuer-in-chief during the worst financial crisis in 75 years. His mantra: Whatever it takes," the institution said in an online posting announcing Bernanke's new position.

"Despite the massive de-leveraging of the last few years, we are still deeply in debt to Ben Bernanke," said Glenn Hutchins, vice chairman of the Brookings board.

Bernanke, as Fed chairman, oversaw historic policy shifts, including dropping the federal fund rate to zero to 0.25 percent, essentially granting banks access to interest-free money, and three rounds of quantitative easing that helped tame long-term interest rates.

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