Reactions to Bernanke as Fed's next chairman

October 26, 2005|By SUN REPORTERS LAURA SMITHERMAN, JAMIE SMITH HOPKINS AND STACEY HIRSH

"At the front end, people will question [Ben S.] Bernanke's actions and ask, `Would [Alan] Greenspan have done this,' but in the end, he may turn out to be better. He'll face different pressures as chairman than he did as a member of the Federal Reserve Board. Someone has to be the one to pull the trigger." Raymond A. "Chip" Mason chairman and chief executive officer, Legg Mason Inc.

"[Bernanke] is eminently qualified. He wasn't a dark horse candidate. He's certainly been in the public eye. And I think the market has generally received him very well." Mary Miller director of fixed income, T. Rowe Price Group

"The Fed looks like they have a great deal of difficulty - have to fight inflation on the one hand and fight against recession on the other. I don't envy whoever gets the job. I'd be happy if interest rates stayed right here. I think everyone would." Stewart Greenebaum president of Greenebaum and Rose Associates Inc., a real estate developer in Pikesville

"If you continue to raise rates to deal with inflation, you really could be - with one minor event more - pushing us closer to the edge of recession. That's an extremely delicate balancing act." Randall M. Griffin president and CEO of Corporate Office Properties Trust, Columbia, a developer and manager

"An inflation hawk is precisely what we need. ... Those of us who have lived through inflation in the past know that when that starts, you go through tremendous periods of uncertainty. Corporations have an inability to predict their costs, and therefore pricing is unstable. So the uncertainty usually causes people to stop doing things until they can see a clear path, and when businesses stop doing things, money doesn't get borrowed, it doesn't get spent, people get laid off and it becomes a downward spiral." Frank Adams managing partner and founder of Grotech Capital Group, a private equity investment firm in Timonium

"Bush, in picking Bernanke, clearly went for a choice that would be acceptable to both a liberal and a conservative audience. He's widely seen, I think, as qualified, and he has the necessary experience to be in that sort of role. The one area I still have questions on is whether he will go with a flexible model for inflation. ... Greenspan has always tended toward being more flexible in monetary policy. It's served us well over the last 20 years." Christian S. Johansson president of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, a public-private partnership that seeks to draw businesses to the region

"From a labor point of view, [Bernanke's call for inflation targets] probably means that he's going to be even more anti-inflation than Greenspan, which means that he's going to try keeping prices down and wages down." Charles Peake professor emeritus, economics, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

"Given the administration's track record, we're optimistic but not overly hopeful. This isn't an administration with a history of putting the concerns of working families above those of their corporate friends." David Dunphy lobbyist, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27, Baltimore

"Greenspan has been a magician. I don't know why anybody would want that job now." Charles Hess managing partner, Inferential Focus, a New York consulting firm

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