Ira Stoll on Obama's Troubles Replacing Bernanke at the Fed


Credit: White House

The public search for a successor to Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke is being described as an embarrassment to President Obama. But in a strange way, the contest — something like the economic version of a cross between the Pillsbury Bake-Off and the Miss America contest — only highlights the strangeness of the structure.

As Ira Stoll observes, the Federal Reserve Act gives considerable discretionary powers over the money supply to an unelected bureaucrat who is only indirectly accountable to either Congress or the executive branch. In a country skeptical of elites, central planning, and large, self-funding bureaucracies, the Federal Reserve is an outlier.