Apparently no one is Washington DC has any sense of shame…or the ability to tell right and wrong for that matter. A case in point — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who had just begun a second career as a blogger/financial analyst, has been hired by the hedge fund firm Citadel as a “consultant”.
Following in the footsteps of his former boss and mentor Alan Greenspan and hundreds of other high-ranking federal government officials over the last decade or so, Bernanke gave up retirement and his self-respect to work as a high-paid adviser to hedge fund giant Citadel.
The Washington – Wall Street revolving door
As an April 16th article in the New York Times points out, Bernanke’s decision to join a hedge fund is yet another example of a Washington insider entering through the revolving door into the financial industry.
Of note, Bernanke is just the latest former senior government official to find employment on Wall Street. Bernanke’s predecessor as Fed chair Alan Greenspan worked as a consultant for megabank Deutsche Bank, bond titan Pacific Investment Management Company and hedge fund Paulson & Company.
Moreover, Jeremy Stein, a former Fed governor, joined hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management last month. He will consult on issues including financial regulation, risk and the Fed’s monetary policy. Stein resigned from the Fed last summer, saying he was returning to his academic career as a tenured professor at Harvard.
Bernanke’s laughable justification for working at a hedge fund
Bernanke’s laughable justification for taking a job at a hedge fund is that Citadel is not regulated by the Federal Reserve. That he would even for one second think that this makes it “ok” for a former high-ranking U.S. government official to “advise” billionaires on how to get even more disgustingly rich at the expense of everyone else shows just how morally bankrupt Washington DC and the financial industry have become.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Bernanke managed to keep a straight face when he claimed he was sensitive to the public’s anxieties about the “revolving door” between Wall Street and Washington, and decided to work for Citadel because it “is not regulated by the Federal Reserve and I won’t be doing lobbying of any sort.”
Bernanke went on to say he had been recruited by banks, but decided that working at a would not be appropriate. “I wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest,” he said. “I ruled out any firm that was regulated by the Federal Reserve.”
So somehow in Bernanke’s mind “advising” a bank on how to make more money is wrong, but “advising” a hedge fund is perfectly ok. Bernanke is apparently a believer in the “big lie” school of deception. I mean what better way to “avoid the appearance of conflict of interest” than going to work for a hedge fund, right?
Taking a larger view, the Washington – Wall Street revolving door ultimately leads to one question — how long can a society survive when its leaders are blindered, greedy fools?