Bernanke Defends Bailouts in First Fed Town Hall Meeting

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2009 5:53 AM CDT
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers a report on the country's economic and financial health before the House Financial Services Committee earlier this month.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Fed chief Ben Bernanke fielded questions from the public in an unprecedented town hall meeting last night, the Kansas City star reports. Sounding every bit like a candidate running for office, Bernanke defended his moves during the recession and financial crisis, saying he had learned from his predecessors' mistakes in the 1930s. "I was not going to be the Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the second Great Depression," Bernanke told the audience.

He said saving big companies from collapsing was necessary to protect the economy and consumers. "I had to hold my nose and stop those firms from failing. I’m as disgusted about it as you are." Bernanke, who is up for reappointment when his term ends in January, also joked with the audience, the Wall Street Journal notes, saying "economic forecasting makes weather forecasting look like physics." The meeting, hosted by anchor Jim Lehrer, will be broadcast on PBS later this week.