With Rep. Ron Paul retiring this year, his epic battles with Federal Reserve chairmen are coming to an end. But his last run-in with Ben Bernanke took a more reflective turn.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Since 2006, when the latter was named as the chairman of the Federal Reserve system, the former – the libertarian congressman from Texas – has been haranguing Mr. Bernanke during his annual visits to the House Committee on Financial Services.
But with Mr. Paul retiring after this term, Wednesday marked the final chapter of six years of Paul-Bernanke combat. Their engagements have often been the stuff of Internet lore.
Paul-Bernanke matches “certainly made the hearings more interesting – and provided several memorable YouTube moments,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) of Alabama, the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services at the top of the hearing.
The script usually goes like this: Paul launches into a lecture about Austrian economics for somewhere near half of his allotted time, followed by a perfunctory question to Bernanke. Bernanke answers succinctly, often with a slim smile. Paul then fires off several other questions which Bernanke deflects with a mix of concision and respectful disagreement.
Wednesday wasn’t much different – but it dropped a curtain on a poignant, long-running episode of a broader battle within the GOP on fiscal and monetary priorities.