Bernanke Won’t Comment on Whether He Would Resign If GOP Wins White House

By Melanie Arter | January 26, 2012 | 11:32 AM EST

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

( – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that he wouldn’t “get involved in political rhetoric” when asked Wednesday whether he would resign if the GOP wins the presidential election and asks him to.

Bernanke announced Wednesday that the board would keep interest rates as low as they are until late 2014. A reporter asked Bernanke: “You haven’t had a very good time in all the Republican presidential debates, and I was wondering if I could have your comment on what you’ve heard.”

He added, “And some of the analysts I’ve talked to said that one of the reasons for this hostility perhaps is that a lot of the Republican primary voters are on fixed incomes and have an inability to invest and make money with their funds. So could you talk to them as well, and one more thing, if the Republicans take back the White House in November and ask you to resign, would you?”

“So I’m not going to get involved in political rhetoric. I’m just going to stay completely away from that. As long as I’m here, I will do everything I can to help the Federal Reserve to achieve its dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment. That’s my answer to the last part as well. I’m not going to be thinking about hypothetical situations in the future,” Bernanke said.

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As far as savers are concerned, Bernanke said the Federal Reserve Board recognizes “that the low-interest rates that we’re using to try to stimulate investment and expansion of the economy also impose a cost on savers who have a lower return.”

“I guess the response I would make is that the savers in our economy are dependent on a healthy economy in order to get adequate returns. In particular, people own stocks and corporate bonds and other securities as well as … Treasury securities, and if our economy is in really bad shape, then they’re not going to get good returns on those investments,” the chairman said.

“So I think what we need to do as is often the case, when the economy goes into a very week situation, then low interest rates are needed to help restore the economy to something closer to full employment and to increase growth, and that in turn will lead ultimately to higher returns across all assets for savers and investors,” he said.

“So that’s…how we would explain it, but again, we recognize that during periods like this savers are getting a lower return. One reason why it’s extremely important for us to maintain price stability of course is that at least that minimizes any loss due to inflation that savers might suffer,” Bernanke concluded.