Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Smarter than a congressmen: College students ask Bernanke better questions

If anyone needed proof that Generation Y will be better at running the government than whoever is in office now, look no further than the students in the lectures Ben Bernanke gave at George Washington University.

The students, members of a GWU school of business class, asked questions that were entirely more relevant and intelligent than members of Congress.

Using such difficult words as “contagion,” “hedging” and “liquidity,“ Bernanke answered questions on everything from international cooperation in reining in multinational corporations to why off-balance sheet vehicles allowed banks to keep so much information off their books. He also tackled where the Fed “draws the line” between bailing out a bank and allowing it to fail, and what systemic problems existed to allow credit ratings agencies to inflate their ratings.

Compare these questions to those asked by the House Financial Services Committee. Committee questions sounded like warring children on the playground, and the answers Bernanke gave to the students — who obviously understood everything he was saying quite well — made his responses to Congress sound like a first-grade teacher explaining the function of a plus sign.

Perhaps it is because the students actually have a passable understanding of business economics, but these students actually listened to Bernanke’s lecture, asked questions that were not self-serving and — surprise — stayed until the end.

By comparison, members of the House committee frequently ask questions that are completely unrelated to the testimony at hand to score political points with their constituents (who, let’s be honest, are certainly not watching anyway), or ask redundant or pointless questions to wage proxy wars via snarky commentary morphed into the form of query.

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