WASHINGTON — Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry rejoined his attack on the Federal Reserve Thursday, saying he would not reappoint chairman Ben Bernanke if elected to the Oval Office.
Perry, the current governor of Texas, launched a scathing attack on the former Princeton economics professor, accusing him of boosting the risk of rampant inflation.
In an interview with the CNBC financial news channel, Perry was asked whether he would reappoint Bernanke, whom he has vociferously criticized over the Fed’s efforts to boost economic growth.
“No,” Perry responded flatly. “We would put someone in who actually believes that the private sector is how you stimulate the economy, not by printing more money.”
The comments come just weeks after Perry was heavily criticized for a personal attack on Bernanke that was seen as threatening violence.
“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa — but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” he had said speaking in the northern US state.
Perry, who currently leads the race to become the Republican presidential candidate in most prominent national polls, did not back away from that comment.
“The statement towards Chairman Bernanke needs to be very clear to him, that making monetary policy to cover up bad fiscal policy is just bad public policy,” he said.
Under Bernanke the Federal Reserve has ploughed trillions of dollars into the US economy in the hope of countering the worst recession in a generation.
Critics say the measures could lead to a dangerous spiral of inflation if the economy returns to more robust growth rates.
Growth in the second quarter of the year stood at 1.3 percent, according to figures released shortly after Perry’s remarks, while consumer prices in the 12 months to August increased 3.8 percent, before seasonal adjustment.
Such personal criticism of the Federal Reserve’s chairman is rare, but not unheard of.
In the early 1980s then Fed chairman Paul Volcker came under stinging personal criticism for his decision to tighten monetary policy, which helped prompt a recession but vanquished long-running inflation problems.
He was not ousted by president Ronald Reagan.
On Wednesday Bernanke — one of the world’s foremost experts on the Great Depression of the 1930s — showed little sign that the Fed would take his foot off the gas if the economy deteriorated further.
“The unemployment situation is really a national crisis,” he said at a question and answer session in Cleveland, Ohio.
But amid concerns that the independence of the Fed is being eroded, Bernanke urged legislators to step in.
“Monetary policy can do a lot,” he said, “but monetary policy is not a panacea.”