Washington – Appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testified that “Ben Bernanke is frankly pretty sick of testifying to committees like these.” Mr. Bernanke has testified several times before House and Senate committees regarding the current financial crisis gripping the country. He did not specify whether he was referring to himself when speaking of ‘Ben Bernanke,’ and if he was, why he referred to himself in the third person.
What he did say was that ‘Ben Bernanke’ had testified before Congress many times, and that he had reached his limit. “How many committees can there possibly be?” Bernanke asked. “Ben Bernanke feels like he’s been sitting at a table like this, in front of one committee or another, like, a million times. Like he lives in front of committees. He gets confused, he’s testified so much. In fact, which committee are you? The Finance Committee? Budget Committee? Senate? House? Ben Bernanke has no idea. He just knows he’s sitting in this chair with a glass of water and a microphone in front of him, as he seems to be doing every waking moment of his life.”
Barney Frank, the committee’s chairman, told Mr. Bernanke that, while he empathizes “with Ben Bernanke’s frustration” with having to testify so many times, his testimony was required and necessary in the current financial crisis. “Ben Bernanke is, after all, the chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Mr. Frank said. “And we are in a financial crisis at this moment. So you can see, I would assume, why Ben Bernanke’s testimony would be necessary and vital to our understanding of how to move forward.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Mr. Bernanke answered curtly. “Blah, blah. ‘Chairman of the bluh-buh-dee-bluh.’ ‘Financial crisis.’ Ben Bernanke’s heard all this, Mr. Chairman. You know why he’s heard it? Because every chairman of every committee tells him he’s the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Like he doesn’t know! ‘Oh, am I really? The chairman? Of the Federal Reserve? I thought I was a fry cook in the kitchen!’ Please! Give Ben Bernanke a break.”
Mr. Frank and rest of the committee seemed unsure how to proceed after several attempts to discuss issues such as interest rates, a potential overhaul of the nation’s banking system, and the outlook for the U.S. dollar. “Mr. Bernanke, I have to be honest with you, I really don’t know where to go here,” Mr. Frank admitted. “I’m not sure how to proceed, given your current state of mind.”
“Good,” Mr. Bernanke said. “Does that mean Ben Bernanke can go home now?”