Keep Bernanke, Romney Economic Adviser Suggests

  on August 21 2012 9:25 PM

(Reuters) - Ben Bernanke received an unlikely defense of his work at the U.S. Federal Reserve by a top Mitt Romney adviser, who said on Tuesday that he should be considered for a third term as chairman.

Glenn Hubbard, economic adviser to the Republican presidential candidate, said he would advise a possible President Romney that Bernanke should "get every consideration" to stay on beyond January 2014, when the chairman's current term expires.

The comments may come as a surprise given Romney has said he would not reappoint Bernanke beyond 2014. Further, many top Republicans have blasted the Fed's aggressive policies since the Great Recession as overreaching and reckless.

"Ben is a model technocrat. He gets paid nothing for getting kicked around all the time. I think they ought to pat him on the back," Hubbard said in an interview, adding he has known Bernanke since they were "practically kids" and regularly speaks to him.

"I may or may not agree with him, but that's very different from saying I question his motives. I wish politicians would stop doing that," Hubbard told Reuters TV.

The comments from Hubbard -- who himself was considered for the Fed chairmanship under former President George W. Bush, who ultimately picked Bernanke -- suggests there is at least some support for the head of the U.S. central bank within the Romney camp as it battles to unseat President Barack Obama.

Hubbard was quick to note his opposition to some Fed policies, including the large-scale bond buying programs known as quantitative easing, or QE. He said a third round of buying (QE3) is unlikely to happen and would have little effect on either the economy or the bruising election campaign.

QE3 would probably only slightly lower Treasury yields, which are already very low, Hubbard said. "I don't think that's what the doctor ordered for the recovery," he said at the Columbia Business School in New York, where he is dean.

Join the Discussion