File - Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference after a Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in this December 18, 2013 at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC. (AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER)
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Ben Bernanke did not hesitate when asked whether he was confident that his signature response to the Great Recession would work.The purchases Bernanke kicked off in late 2008 have continued, off and on, to this day. They have already led to a quadrupling of the Fed's balance sheet to $4 trillion. To Allan Meltzer, a leading Fed historian, no outcome looks good for Bernanke.Far from punishing Bernanke, who served a prior stint on the Fed board from 2002-2005, for taking too long to recognize the cracks in the financial system, legislators intent on reforming Wall Street expanded the Fed's supervisory authority.Only two of the five U.S. investment firms, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, survived the 2008 financial crisis – and only because of an unpopular taxpayer bailout. Drawing more public scorn, the Fed also orchestrated a $182 billion taxpayer bailout of insurer American International Group.
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