The Hill: Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke are Locked in a Clash of TitansSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Wed, 12/09/2009 - 09:28
High-stakes duel between Rep. Paul and chairman Bernanke intensifies
By Silla Brush | The Hill
Rep. Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke are locked in a clash of titans.
Paul, the 74-year-old House libertarian from Texas with the high-pitched voice, has fought for decades to kill off the Federal Reserve.
Bernanke, the mild-mannered ex-Princeton professor and chairman of the bank, is waging a high-stakes battle for the Fed’s reputation. And he’s doing everything possible to knock out Paul.
The fight is still in the early rounds. But with the full House expected to vote this week to give government auditors more power to scrutinize the Fed, Paul has the upper hand.
The Senate is a much more difficult round for Paul, though a similar stew of liberal and conservative support is starting to simmer in the upper chamber behind the Republican’s wonky auditing measure.
Bernanke and Paul have never met one-on-one behind closed doors, Paul’s office said. The battle has taken place in public — on blogs, with grassroots activists and during congressional hearings.
Bernanke has testified against the provision, given lengthy media interviews, written op-eds and attempted to lift the cloud of secrecy that hangs over the bank.
The Fed is audited, he argues, but allowing government scrutiny of interest rate decisions will politicize the Fed. Opening the door to congressionally requested audits would compromise the market’s confidence in the bank.
Paul, a longstanding supporter of a new gold standard, made his case formally in his recently published book, End the Fed.