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.
On one side of that divide stands Bernanke, a Republican and economist with technocratic bona fides after being thrice nominated by President George W. Bush to various posts, including his current spot, before being reappointed by President Obama. On the other is Paul, the leading light for the Republican Party’s disaffected libertarian cohort who see the Bernanke years, including bank bailouts and rock-bottom interest rates for years on end, as not distasteful necessities but deep betrayals of conservative financial principles.
Many on the Financial Services Committee were in a reflective mood early in Wednesday’s hearing – including Paul.
“I have over the years obviously been critical about what goes on in monetary policy, but it hasn’t been so much the chairman of the Federal Reserve, whether it was Paul Volcker or Alan Greenspan or the current chairman, it’s always been the system,” Paul said. “I think they have a job that they can’t do because it’s an unmanageable job, it’s a fallacy, it’s a flawed system, and therefore we shouldn’t expect good results.