BURLINGTON, Vt., January 24 Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that a second term for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would give Wall Street a green light to continue the reckless behavior that dragged the economy to the brink of collapse.
"Democrats and President Obama are putting their credibility on the line if they think they can criticize Wall Street and big banks one day and then turn around and support Bernanke, Wall Street's candidate, the next day," Sanders said. "That doesn't pass the smell test."
"The issue for Democrats is whether they will allow Republicans to pretend to be the populist, anti-Wall Street party, or whether they will have the courage to stand up to Wall Street and bring in a Fed chairman who will represent the needs of working families rather than huge financial institutions," Sanders added.
Sanders also said that it is long past the time to turn the page from the failed deregulatory financial policies of the past. "Ben Bernanke was the top economic adviser to George W. Bush. He was in lockstep agreement with Alan Greenspan, who has now endorsed him. These are the people who let Wall Street run amok. These are the people who brought us the worst economy since the Great Depression. We have got to appoint a new Fed chairman to move us in a very different direction."
Sanders has demanded that the Fed use its powers to substantially lower outrageous credit card interest rates, protect homeowners facing foreclosure and to make affordable credit available to small and medium-size businesses. He also has demanded increased transparency at the Fed and the names of financial institutions that took more than $2 trillion in secret subsidies from the central bank. Bernanke has refused.
Bernanke's term expires on Jan. 31. A leader of the Senate effort to deny Bernanke a second term, Sanders on Dec. 5 placed a hold on the nomination.
"The vote on whether to confirm Bernanke will be one of the most important decisions senators will make during the Obama administration," Sanders said.