Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Maybe he's just warming up 

As most observers now, Rep. Barney Frank is now chair of the House Financial Services Committee, which hears testimony from the Federal Reserve. RTE notes that he got a little excited today talking about income inequality and forgot to let Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke give his opening remarks in his legally mandated testimony to Congress.
Barney Frank spoke at length on growing income inequality, then, half an hour into the hearing, asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for his thoughts. Mr. Bernanke began to reply when Mr. Frank sheepishly interrupted, �I apologize, you haven�t given your opening statement yet. If this had been my first hearing, I could explain that mistake a little bit easier. No good explanation comes to mind.�

Mr. Frank also praised Mr. Bernanke for devoting several pages of his testimony to consumer protection issues. His predecessor, Alan Greenspan, had little interest in consumer protection issues, much less mentioning them in his Humphrey-Hawkins testimony. �To me it is very clear this is not Uncle Alan�s semi-annual report,� Mr. Frank said.

It's not a mild-mannered Congress working with the Fed these days. How bad is this? Let me tick off two past Congressmen who probably were harder on the Fed than Rep. Frank has been so far.

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