Bernanke Tosses Out His Rule Book

As Wall Streets meltdown accelerates, the Fed chief adapts on the fly
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 16, 2008 9:19 AM CDT
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition annual conference, Friday, March 14, 2008, in Washington.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – With a recession and worsening meltdown on Wall Street looming, Fed chief Ben Bernanke has dumped textbook central bank economic policy, reports the New York Times. Last week's bailout of Bear Stearns, for example, seemed to fly in the face of his previous reluctance to rescue big institutions. And it came in the same week the Fed made $200 billion available to investment banks and another $100 billion for banks and thrifts.

Bernanke, a former economics professor, once was considered an outsider on Wall Street. He’s now become its best friend, pouring money into the banking system using a plethora of disparate methods in an effort to intervene. "There is no rule book for an economic crisis," said economist Douglas W. Elmendorf. Some analysts, though, say Bernanke may have waited too long.