Person of the Year 2009

I have nothing to say about this.

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Category: Federal Reserve, Financial Press

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47 Responses to “Bernanke Named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’”

  1. Federal Reserve’s Bernanke Named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, 56, was named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine, the publication announced on NBC’s “Today” show this morning.

    There were six finalists for “Person of the Year,” including U.S. President Barack Obama; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.’s co-founder and chief executive officer; the Chinese worker, an “increasingly influential group”; General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan; and Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold-medalist Usain Bolt.

    Time, owned by Time Warner Inc., started the annual “Person of the Year” cover story in 1927 with Charles Lindbergh, the aviator who made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. The magazine chose Obama last year.

  2. some_guy_in_a_cube says:

    In the part of town where Time’s owners live, Bernanke IS a hero.

  3. Mike in Nola says:

    Marks power and not whether the person was a positive influence. Stalin made it twice; Hitler once.

  4. km4 says:

    Margaret Wente: Happy days are here again. The central bankers say the recession is over. The markets are buoyant. Can we relax?

    Nassim Taleb: Not at all. Central bankers have no clue. In the first place, the financial crisis was not a black swan. It was perfectly predictable. They ignored the phenomenal buildup in leverage since 1980. We still have too much debt, too many big banks, too much state sponsorship of risk-taking. And now we have six million more Americans who are unemployed – a lot more than that if you count hidden unemployment. Ben Bernanke saved nothing. He shouldn’t be allowed in Washington. He’s like a doctor who misses the metastatic tumour and says the patient is doing very well.

  5. KidDynamite says:

    funny, barry, i had a similarly contrite reaction. i was trying to think of proper analogies:

    Rewarding the Captain of the Titanic for getting everyone off the sinking ship after he rammed it into an iceberg. Rewarding a doctor for sewing your leg back on after he accidentally amputated it. Rewarding someone for putting out a fire in your burning house after they set it. Rewarding someone for cleaning up a pile of crap on your floor after they took it.

  6. flipspiceland says:

    Arafat was also a Time , POTY.

    The reason BR is silent on this is because…….he supports Bernanke, if prior posts to that effect are to be believed and the last time he came out in support of Bernanke, the comments section was 90% against.

    Who else do we recall was feted as a magnificando financial guru? I believe it was Greenspan, he of the low interest rate mentality that he and Rubin ‘thought’ was such a fabulous idea. (Greensan has since made some kind of puny apoogy for being an idiot).

    Person of Year? Maybe. We should have some idea if he deserves that award some time down the road.
    Meanwhile, those who know what he did in giving his friends and neighbors and Goldman Sucks a temporary window to rip off even more money from the people will await the final tally.

    Giving him an award for what is essentially a game that is only partially played is more a ploy by well-connected partisans, a CNBC babal, of postitive thinkers that attended one too manhy Anthony Robbins lectures.

  7. gps says:

    Does Times got TARP fund from FED?

  8. torrie-amos says:

    come on it’s Lloyd Blankenfein all the way, he who has the gold rules

  9. bobby says:



  10. crosey says:

    IMHO the Time POTY is the one who has generated the most energy-news-subject matter-revenues in the media space. And BB is a shoe-in for that.

  11. polarbear52 says:

    Where is the Committee to Save the World? MSM doing what they do best-placating the masses. Move along people-nothing to see here-everything is in good hands.

    Bernanke as POTY-you have got to be kidding. He is as interesting as stale bread.

    Maybe it should be the sub prime borrowers-how they took full advantage of the idiot bankers and then screwed every honest US citizen.

  12. beaufou says:

    It feels like the Nobel peace prize, I really don’t give a shit who wins what nowadays, and Time magazine is a waste of time.

  13. jmf says:

    Moin from Germany,

    George W. Bush made it twice….. Along with Putin…… ;-)

    TIME’s Person of the Year 1927 – 2008

  14. Lugnut says:

    Cover page contra-indicator. Look for yield spreads to widen.

  15. curbyourrisk says:

    This is a sick joke. Someone please wake me up when it’s over. Obama wins a eace Prize….Bernanke wins Man of the Year. The man doesn’t even deserve his current post…..and he gets a damn award??? What assinine people are running the show here inthis country. I want out…….I am done.

  16. wally says:

    I guess you could argue that he was the most prominent figure in government this year. The FED has arguably become the fourth branch of government (if that is allowed to stand) and the one that most clearly represents money rather than people or territory.

  17. In light of today’s announcement, some might find the following Financial Times story aptly sums up the “contribution” Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has made to the world:

    Distressed debt – defined as a bond trading at less than 50 cents on the dollar
    - is rapidly disappearing from US financial markets as yield-hungry investors
    push up the prices for even the most beaten-down securities.

    Bonds trading at less than 50 cents on the dollar now account for only 1.1 per
    cent of the high-yield market, or $8.9bn in securities, down from 27.5 per
    cent, or $202bn in bonds, a year ago, according to JPMorgan data.

    The intense demand for once-distressed bonds is stirring the debate about
    whether investors are acting wisely or piling into junk bonds because of a lack
    of opportunities elsewhere in the fixed-income markets.

    Distressed Debt on the Wane in US Markets
    Henny Sender
    Financial Times, Dec. 16, 2009

  18. seneca says:

    Note that the 1938 Time’s then “Man of the Year” was, you’ll pardon the expression, Adolf Hitler. Time’s “Person of the Year” isn’t an honorific. It’s the person who most influenced events that year, for good or ill. Bernake certainly fills the bill, although Bernie Madoff I’m sure gave him a run for the money, so to speak.

  19. microcap says:

    I think it’s scarier that Pelosi was a finalist LOL

    This could be the bell ringing to short all things Bernanke if you ask me..

  20. bsneath says:

    It was a good call. Bernanke saved us from certain ruin. Further more he is one of only a handful of officials who is honest and more concerned with the welfare of the nation than with lining his pockets.

    Don’t criticize what he did unless you can offer a better solution. Don’t blame him for the banking excesses that began in the Clinton Administration and exploded out of proportion due to Wall Street greed.

    Yes Bernanke did not comprehend the severity of the situation but he was probably as shocked as the rest of us that these bankers could be so destructively greedy as to bring down an entire economy. Just like we are shocked that they still don’t give a crap what they do as long as they make money.

  21. Senator Jim Bunning had an exceptional set of questions he submitted for the record, and Bernanke answered them. Bernanke makes a few interesting admissions in his answers.

  22. JZumbrun says:

    Time says: “the main reason Ben Shalom Bernanke is TIME’s Person of the Year for 2009 is that he is the most important player guiding the world’s most important economy. His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression, and he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future. The decisions he has made, and those he has yet to make, will shape the path of our prosperity, the direction of our politics and our relationship to the world.”

    The first and third sentence there are hard to argue with. The second sentence omits his role in previous years of helping provide intellectual cover for some of the policies that created the mess. But, in all, I can’t see this declaration from Time as something unreasonable or something to get angry about. I don’t think anyone could argue that the man is not influential.

  23. Mannwich says:

    What is this “Time Magazine”?

  24. tradeking13 says:

    Notable past winners:

    Adolf Hitler (1938)
    Joseph Stalin (1939 & 1942)
    Nikita Khrushchev (1957)
    Ayatollah Khomeini (1979)

  25. tradeking13 says:

    “he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future. The decisions he has made, and those he has yet to make, will shape the path of our prosperity, the direction of our politics and our relationship to the world.”

    Yeah, let’s give him even more power with no checks or balances.

  26. The award is for the person who most influenced the news, not the person who did the most ‘good stuff.’

    The list if finalists is a joke.

  27. quiddity says:

    Time’s Man of the Year, 1931, was Pierre Laval. Thought to be a good fellow at the time (unlike Hitler, Stalin, et al).

  28. Marcus Aurelius says:

    I was Time’s 2006 ‘Person of the Year’.

    It’s on my resume.

  29. bruerr says:

    It is getting increasingly, annoying, to see our tax payer funds, lubricating the giant printing-presses of the advertising industry. Yes, annoying to think of our tax payer funds zipping through the ether and powering along hard-wired lines to media conglomerates’ banking accounts. I suppose they all need to get their cut of the action.

    All hail Bernanke for widening the “dark pools” culture and paying “talent” to keep the secrets from climbing out.

    Not so good to see Time Magazine, hard at work, provoking social unrest and trying to incite riots.

    Notice they do not allow comments on their prime-rate propaganda spaces, at time magazine. If you are a lobbying contingent and you want your propaganda to run without comments, it costs double. To which our tax payer funds also goes to support.

    - – - -

    Alternative titles:
    Well Financed Damage Control. By MICHAEL GRUNWALD
    The Most Expensive Propaganda Space in Print, 2009 By MICHAEL GRUNWALD


  30. franklin411 says:

    I completely agree. Bernanke is a perfect example of the kind of man we need to lead us into future prosperity. He was part of the problem (although he played a very minor role) due to his ideological blinders, but he was not afraid to change his thinking when he saw that reality proved him wrong. Not only did he admit that he was wrong, but he threw the entire weight of his being into implementing the right ideology once that happened. And he made an unprecedented effort to open the Fed’s action and thinking to the average person.

    Congratulations, Mr. Bernanke!

  31. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Side Bar: Tiger is named Athlete of the Decade (Lance Armstrong was #2)

  32. Transor Z says:

    Wow, I can’t believe Patrick Byrne got shafted … AGAIN. ;-)

  33. bruerr says:

    Alternative titles:
    How to Pressure the Senate to Approve the Wrong Person for the Job By MICHAEL GRUNWALD
    Even Homer Gives us Grand Portraits of Blind Cyclopians By MICHAEL GRUNWALD


  34. IdahoSpud says:

    If you had any doubts the media is actively complicit in the Government’s efforts to keep Wall Street’s Ponzi going unchecked, this should dispel them.

  35. rustum says:

    We just need to find some award for Blankestein, Tim and CNBC.

  36. Mysticdog says:

    Oh come on. Tiger isn’t a “athlete”, he’s a freakin golfer! Its less athletic than walking! Might as well call auto racers and sports fishermen “athletes”.

    And “Man of the Year” is just Time magazine stroking it. Time has less influence on the world than the Daily Show now…

  37. bsneath says:


    Very well said.

    (I thought I was going to be the only outlier)


    The Time award goes to the most significant person, good or bad. Blankenstein would have been an excellent pick. But I heard the Time Editor on MJ this morning and he is somewhat of a Wall Street defender. Go figure.

  38. Transor Z says:

    Senator Jim Bunning had an exceptional set of questions he submitted for the record, and Bernanke answered them. Bernanke makes a few interesting admissions in his answers.

    Just perusing these. See #14. Nice to know the loans to AIG were collateralized with RMBS and CDOs. Yee. Ha.

  39. Matt says:

    Though media elites at Time Magazine have bestowed their Time Man of the Year honor on Bernanke, normal people really don’t like the guy. An activist group called the PCCC commissioned a poll by credible polling firm Research 2000 on Ben Bernanke, and found that 47% of Americans think that Bernanke cares more about Wall Street than Main Street, 20% think the opposite, and 33% aren’t sure.

    The finding is consistent across every ideological, regional and demographic group. This degree of consensus is rare. Independents and women seem to detest him a little more than most.


    QUESTION: Who do you think that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cares about more, Wall Street or Main Street?

    WALL STREET . . . . .MAIN STREET . . . . .NOT SURE
    . . . . 47% . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33%

  40. Transor Z says:

    Question #23 – Bernanke says (of AIG paying 100 cents on dollar on CDO obligations to GS et al):

    One critical factor that worked against successfully obtaining concessions was the counterparties’ realization that the U.S. government had determined that AIG was systemically important and accordingly would act to prevent AIG from undergoing a disorderly failure. In those circumstances, the government and the company had little or no leverage to extract concessions from any counterparties, including the counterparties on multi-sector CDOs, on their claims.

    Goes on to say that GS and others got 100 cents b/c of the likelihood that certain foreign counterparties would not have, or could not have, given concessions, and therefore it would have been wrong to treat domestic counterparties unequally.

    So here’s Ben/The Fed trying to have it both ways again as to whether The Fed is private or public. See, the Fed could have threatened to walk away from this deal and leave it to the federal government to figure out a solution — requiring Treasury and/or congressional action and some measure of public accountability/transparency. In short, the public would have screamed bloody murder about this if it had gone through constitutional gov’t channels.

    Now instead, the Fed through Maiden Lane III is holding a collateral interest in AIG CDOs and AIG is going to repay them… when exactly? I mean, NOBODY is saying AIG is going to be out from under any time soon.

  41. Robert M says:

    Secoond Mike in NOLA.

  42. BigDaddy says:

    Here is the criteria:

    Since 1927, TIME Magazine has chosen a man, woman, or idea that “for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year.” Though TIME’s list is not an academic or objective study of the past, the list gives a contemporary viewpoint of what was important during each year.

    Under that definition, Bernanke is a decent choice as he certainly influenced events during 2008 and well into 2009 “for better or worse”. That is why, under those guidelines, people like Hitler and Stalin were “elected” as men of the year.

  43. phb says:

    Does this mean Nouriel Roubini is getting ready to go underground?

  44. stevefeiss says:

    anyone happen to read Bob McTeer’s recent comments? Can’t help but offer them – Fed Bashing: Unfair and Costly ( ) … be careful what you wish for as you might just get it, as mom used to say. out of curiousity, there seems to be TONS of criticism here but very light in the solutions department. always a fan here of thinking about it in that regard – what would I have done differently as opposed to just lobbing critique and blame everywhere – and so far, cannot think of much else that could have been done. as an independent interest rate strategist/trader, have to say that things are remarkably QUIET (which is a good thing). last year this time we were not wondering about year-end positions and balance sheet cleaning up ahead of NEXT YEAR, as we are now. last year this time we were more concerned there would not BE a 2009, in the markets. so in this light, have to lodge at least one vote of confidence for Ben. this year, it’s ALMOST back to normal in that volumes are light and folks who made their year aren’t in need of taking risk. those who’ve NOT made their year, aren’t about to start trying now. again, in context of LAST YEAR – these were not concerns. there was a ‘close your eyes and BUY’ (Treasuries) mentality. again, just thinking outloud here and lodging a vote of confidence FOR Ben. think he’s far from the arsenist turned fireman as depicted above … thanks for listening. -Steve

  45. Mike D says:

    Who cares what Time thinks? Person of the Year is pathetic. Wasn’t Obama on the cover like too many times to count this year? It’s just another rag, going under. The sooner the better. The only one’s that care what Time says are their cohorts in the liberal media. All of them are clinging on to the past. This just proves it. As far as Bernanke, well, ditto.

  46. bruerr says:

    I see Goldman Sachs running the propaganda machines at super high RPMs, trying to save Bernanke’s reputation (which has suffered greatly in the last several quarters). GS must have overhauled and got a larger motor. Probably bought it from one of the de-commissioned aircraft carriers. Old nuclear powered “Shaft” Drive-unit. More toxins on the way…

    O look and in side by side markets with the high speed trade engines driving up the market. “Bernanke man of da Year”

    Say nothing of material changes in accounting. A few metrics changes and tweaks along the way.

    Why its a Magnificent and Inviting bull market. I am surprised they don’t have Abbey Cohen featured here in Time, making it on with a white colored bull on the edge of the hudson river. Drawing correlations with past depressions in history, circa 402a.d. Crete, what happens after your central banker helps the King avoid a near-economic-disaster.