The picture is from the cover of Business Week of the 31st of March 2008 “Reluctant Revolutionary” issue. Since then the spotlight has not moved away from the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, as the economy swings between statements of paranoid alarm and insincere reassurance.
There are plenty of histories of the Federal Reserve System, with plenty of experts battling for the right to speak for it. But I would like to know if there is anything about the Fed in the public imagination.
It seems to me that since Volcker, if not since McChesney Martin, the Fed Chair has been awarded a papal status. He is subject to strident abuse (enter Jim Cramer) and praise, but overwhelmingly the Chairman is trusted without question, dare I say it: respected. In troubled times, criticism is notably mute. The economy is like a nervous and unreliable creature, and the most important public virtues are detached calm and bullishness. The Fed Chairman embodies virtue.