Poll: Americans’ views of Fed turn more hostile


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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has tried to speak plainly to the people, but it apparently isn’t helping the central bank’s image.

A Dec. 4-7 Bloomberg News survey of 1,000 Americans found that 39% believe the Fed should be held more accountable to Congress and 16% want to abolish the central bank entirely. Just 37% favor maintaining the Fed’s status as an independent entity.


In a Bloomberg poll conducted Oct. 7-10, 35% of respondents wanted the Fed overhauled and 8% said it should be abolished.

Fed supporters say the central bank helped the U.S. avert depression by slashing short-term interest rates to zero two years ago and by providing massive loans to the financial system amid the worst of the credit crunch.

But critics say Bernanke has gone too far with his latest plan to buy $600 billion of Treasury bonds by mid-2011, an attempt to keep longer-term interest rates suppressed. Opponents of the plan say the central bank will flood the world with more dollars, potentially stoking inflation.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has helped fuel a grassroots movement against the Fed with his book “End the Fed,” which calls for dismantling the central bank.

With the GOP takeover of the House, Paul now will be in a position to exercise more oversight of the Fed: He will chair the House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, according to a statement Thursday from Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the chairman-elect of the main committee.

-- Tom Petruno