“Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is unassuming. He has an academic beard and, no matter how well-dressed he is, his clothes always look nondescript. When he speaks during press conferences, his eyes get moist and his voice takes on a nervous, shaky tinge. He has been in the middle of crisis after crisis during his term, and yet, for the most part, he has faded into the background where more brash or foul-mouthed figures like former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner came to the forefront.
“Bernanke is so low-key, in fact, that one research report this year from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that the Federal Reserve would have been more aggressive on the economy if Bernanke weren’t so shy. So it’s easy to forget that Bernanke has quietly changed everything about the Federal Reserve.
“That was highlighted Wednesday in the Fed chairman’s first press conference of 2013. The press conference ended up being less about the economy – which is ho-hum and moving along – and much more of an insight into what Bernanke thinks about the role of a Fed chairman and how he has changed it.
“Two reporters asked Bernanke about his plans after the Fed. He did say he had talked to the president but Bernanke remained vague; he archly told a Wall Street Journal reporter he’d give him a call when he decided on his next step.”
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