Just who are the addicts that Bernie Sanders, his white hair mussed, is getting all worked up about on this frigid Washington afternoon? “Compulsive moneymakers,” he says. And Sanders, Vermont’s independent junior senator and a onetime college radical who still pockets an authentic 1920 EUGENE DEBS FOR PRESIDENT key chain, is just getting started.
He saves his most biting criticism for a man who stands accused of embracing, coddling, and enabling Wall Street’s rampant greed: Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. “There’s no doubt that Bernanke is Wall Street’s guy,” the senator says icily. Sanders wants to block a second Bernanke term, insisting the Fed chief has presided over a financial system that “has not been as unsafe, unsound, and unstable since the Great Depression.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas obstetrician-turned-gold-bug, peddles his own blistering critique of Bernanke and the Fed. For three decades the libertarian Republican and former presidential candidate has blamed Federal Reserve monetary policy for creating destructive business cycles.