SB118841384006012433

SB118841384006012433 - Bernanke Breaks Greenspan Mold -...

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August 30, 2007 Bernanke Breaks Greenspan Mold Managing Crisis, Fed Chief Dulls Notion That Turmoil In Market Leads to Rate Cut By GREG IP DOW JONES REPRINTS This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit: www.djreprints.com . See a sample reprint in PDF format . Order a reprint of this article now . August 30, 2007; Page A3 WASHINGTON -- When Ben Bernanke was nominated to head the Federal Reserve in 2005, he promised to "maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies established during the Greenspan years." But in handling his first financial crisis, Mr. Bernanke shows signs of a break with Alan Greenspan, the Fed's chairman from 1987 to 2006. That shift is important in understanding why Mr. Bernanke hasn't cut the Fed's main interest rate yet, and it could alter investors' expectations of how the Bernanke Fed will function. The Fed historically has had two major economic duties. Maintaining financial stability is one. Controlling inflation while preventing recession is the other. To Mr. Greenspan, market confidence and the economy's growth prospects were so intertwined as to make the Fed's two duties almost inseparable. He cut rates after the 1987 stock-market crash and the near- collapse of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management in 1998 to prevent investor reluctance to take risks from undermining the nation's economic growth. By contrast, Mr. Bernanke distinguishes between the central bank's two functions. So, on Aug. 17, the Fed cut the interest rate and lengthened the term on loans to banks from its little-used discount window in hopes banks would use the window -- or at least the knowledge it was available -- to lend to solid borrowers having trouble getting credit amidst the market turmoil. The action was aimed at restoring the normal functioning of disrupted credit markets, not primarily at boosting growth. The Fed, meanwhile, hasn't cut the far more economically important federal-funds rate, charged on loans
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SB118841384006012433 - Bernanke Breaks Greenspan Mold -...

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