Yesterday, Time named Ben Bernanke Person of Year. This news didn't sit right with country reporter Charlie Gasparino. Any old hobo would've been a better choice, but as luck would have it, Chaz has someone in particular in mind, who is more deserving of the award. And that, CG says, is Charlie Gasparino.
No, just fucking with you (that he was allowed to write that). Ask him for his real pick tonight at Campagnola but for now he's going with Paul Volcker, who isn't afraid to throw some ba fungols in Lloyd Blankfein's direction.
Bernanke, for my money, doesn't hold a candle to the grumpy old man. Volcker, the former Fed chairman and current economic adviser to President Obama, defeated inflation, while Bernanke, by keeping interest rates at near zero, may be setting the stage for its return. More than that, Bernanke watched silently as Wall Street risk-taking grew to immense proportions, first as a Fed governor and then as its chairman, appointed to that position by President George W. Bush to succeed another enabler of Wall Street risk, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Volcker also worried that by mixing traders with commercial bankers, unfettered risk would infect savings and checking accounts, which the government vows to insure. And he was right, as we're all painfully aware, though Volcker isn't doing victory laps telling the financial world "I told you so," which he has every right to do. Instead, in his own grumpy, straight-talking way (minus the cigar), he's letting people like Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein, and the other captains of industry who think they're doing "God's work," know that he doesn't think much of them.
Also, Volcker had the stones to walk out on Maria Bartiromo, which is serious points in CG's book.