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December 16th, 2009
08:12 AM ET

TIME's Person of the Year: Ben Bernanke

TIME Magazine named Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke its Person of the Year for 2009.

What do you think of the choice? Anyone you think it should have been instead?

Post away – and Heidi will read some of your comments during the 10am ET hour of the Newsroom.

Filed under: Heidi Collins • Josh Levs
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Anthony J

    I'm in college and despite what a lot of my peers think, the economy has come a long way from DOW around 6500 and this man had a lot to do with it being where it is today. I say, congratulations and keep doing fine work.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  2. Tejun

    Bernanke wasn't 'wrong' about sub-primes, he was LYING! This 'crisis' led to legislation brought to you by Obama, that gave the FED total control of the affected BHC's (bank holding companies)

    December 16, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  3. maliheh

    neda alga soltani[iran] shouldve won time person of the year..bernanke has done nothing to deserve it time magazine is a joke shame on you ppl

    December 16, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  4. Warren Stuart

    Ben Bernanke raised interest rates 17 times leading up to the re-set period for 3-year Adjustable Rate Mortgages (off the 2003 interest rate lows). This caused millions of mortgages to become unaffordable for their owners, and prevented new buyers from buying the homes. Bernanke caused the first domino of the mortgage crises it to fall. It's his economy alright!

    -Thank you, Warren Stuart, Lake Worth, FL

    December 16, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  5. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    I think they have made a mistake this guy belongs on Mad Magazine not Time maybe they will make up for the mistake and make the picture extra extra goofy so people can read all about it .

    December 16, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  6. Lesle

    SULLY SULLENBERGER a true American hero; courage, a role model, he saved lives by living up to his responsibility

    the FED is a prime contributer to the mess we are in now-it was avoidable, nobody did his job and nobody lived up to his responsibility

    December 16, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  7. Brian R

    Bernanke is a poor choice, he's add $6.4T to our debt. Essentially all he has done is kick the problem down the road to my 6 year old twins and their kids! I would rather deal with the problems now and perhaps lose everything so that my children wouldn't have too!

    December 16, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  8. CharlieM

    Time names people both for doing good AND bad. Bernanke is certainly BOTH.

    He was a part of the group that caused the collapse of the world financial system – he backed laws to keep the system opaque, thus hiding the brewing problems. But he has really helped make the bankers richer than ever, and has assured that they will never lose money.

    WE gave money to the banks to "save them and the world". They also are given access to billions of dollars at near 0%. But instead of loaning out the money, they buy bonds and other public debt. WE THEN PAY them interest on the bonds, then at some point they cash in the bonds and give us back the principal.

    Why didn't the government do that for the average person, who did NOTHING WRONG? Give ME a billion – I promise to only buy US Government bonds, and collect the interest for 2 years, cash out and return the billion. I will even pay taxes on the interest!! The whole thing would have been done at NO RISK !

    We are now in WORSE condition because the banks have GROWN and been given assurances that they will ALWAYS BE BAILED OUT.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  9. Rachael

    Glenn Beck- because he woke up millions of Americans to not only our country's economic state, but its financial state (such as the excessive government spending and the increasing debt) and the importance of how their relationship has contributed to the crisis we currently have. This in itself will improve the economy, because "We the People" hold the power.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  10. Charles

    My comment is related to the Bernake selection as the prince in shining armorperson of the year who save the USA. If you recall he made a statement in 2007 regarding our economy, and he was dead wrong. Saying that, I guess the smoking mirror comments can be rewarded one more time, Obama received his award as a peace advocate, and he just gave the go ahead to send 30,000 troops to make peace with fully loaded armament. What a joke. He promised to get our troops out of Iraq, but he never mention where he was sending them. For sure they are not coming home, he now have his own war going on. Why no, give Bernake his award, the next one on line for an award will be his top prosecutor for assisting in the pardon of a criminal that was in jail.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  11. Joel

    Imagine sitting next to the pilot in an airplane. All of a sudden, the plane is losing cabin pressure and seems to be out of control. The pilot is working feverishly to save the plane. Do you think it would be wise if a non trained person reached over and started to press some buttons in the cockpit?
    Well, the economy is in a nose dive and right now is not the time to reach over and grab the controls – the majority of us are not economists. We can't reach over and say Ben you are not the right person for the job.
    Who else is going to fix the problem? While the majority of us were in breezing through college, Ben was studying Depression models. Let the man put his brain too work and try to fix this. I can speak for the majority of us, we are all hoping someone does.

    December 16, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  12. John A Babitskas

    He saved us from a great depression. AIG not withstanding. He deserved it.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  13. Lyn

    Person Of The Year: What is with you people! A guy gets chosen and you immediately try to find another! Give the winner a break and allow him or her to enjoy the moment.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  14. Nancy

    Ben caused this mess his first months in office when he raised the rates. He reversed his decision and lowered them back down. Too late. Commercial and real estate loans started to tumble and fail when the arms reset and homeowners could not make the payments.Then the government and big banks pointed their fingers at the brokers. The government itself relaxed the requirements to be a broker years ago. 26 years in the business and have never seen such a mess created by new laws and rules by the government that are directly responsible for this entire mess.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  15. Debbie

    Ben Bernake as Man of the Year, is like giving Bernie Madoff an award for "The Most Honest Person of 2009"'s crazy. Time Magazine needs to re-evaluate the way it looks at the people they honor.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  16. randy vandre

    Obama, should have been the only one on this list. He has my vote. At lease he a President that's working for a better American.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  17. Bobby Lemmons

    First How about a soldier in combat? How about a border guard who is trying to keep this country free? How about a policeman or fireman who is protecting our cities and towns? And last but not least how about Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public that work about 7 days a week to provide for their families and paying taxes to keep our country going, Anyone would be better choice.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  18. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Capt. Sully would have been a better pick

    December 16, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  19. Tony Dwyer

    Good Day,
    Without Chairman Bernanke, the world would have sunk to a catastrophic depression.
    Taking one line or sentence from old speeches is ridiculous due to out of context problems . He saved the world. Sit back and congratulate not criticize and kindly do not ask the idiot republicans who caused the problems for their opinions.
    T Dwyer

    December 16, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  20. Dianne

    Person of the year unequivocably should have been CAPTAIN SULLY SULLENBERGER who demonstrated selflessness, courage and altruism – attributes of a TRUE hero . This man is not in the public eye, does not get the big bucks & went above and beyond the call of duty in the face of danger. Bernanke just did what he is paid highly to do - his day to day job!!!!

    December 16, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  21. Jake

    Really , this is the man of the year? He is basically the fox keeping tabs on the hen-house. He should be nominated criminal money launderer of the year.

    December 16, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  22. Smitti

    The U.S. Soldier EVERY year till they come home. There is no equal when it comes to self sacrafice daily that they make for our freedom. Very very sorry choice for 2009......

    December 16, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  23. bob

    I heard in the news that the problem with healthcare voting is because of the pork barrel issue that Obama does not like.seems that it has been hushed up since i first heard come

    December 16, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  24. John Wilkinson

    Bernanke is an overpaid politician who probably cashed in on the CDS's and future trading that got us into this mess in the first place. If he is anything like our congressman he earns big $ on the side for his "consulting". The Treasury should have seen the trouble coming and stopped it before it happened. Anyone would be a better person of the year. How about Sully?

    December 16, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  25. John

    Wow I like the Charlie M's comments about TARP. I had the suspicion bank were doing that too. They got richer on the money we lent them. They did nothing to help our county's business.

    December 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  26. Robert J. Varga

    We should recall that Ayatollah Khomeini was once Time's Man of the Year. As Time often reminds us, the Man of the Year is not necessarily given to the person who had the most positive effect on the world, but to the person who's actions, for better or worse, most affected events globally. No matter how you feel about the results, Bernanke's large role in the global financial mess qualifies him for this distinction.

    December 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  27. Edward Love

    We, have over looked the true Person of the year, "average Joe/Jane. Captain Sully though heroic, Ben Bernanke with finance, this is a slap to the men and woman who lost their jobs, who lost their homes. It's average Joe and average Jane that took the hit so others could maintain their standard of living. Tell the men and women standing in lines for work that fat cats like Bernanke are men of the year. Tell the children of the people out of work The Captian Sully is the hero, when their hero's are mom and dad that sacrifice and do their best to put gifts under the tree. I vote to not buy this issue of Time Magazine, I will spend the money on stocking stuffer's.

    December 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  28. Dodie - CA

    Ben "Helicopter” Bernanke?? Bernanke received poor marks for his monetary policy decisions in recent years, resulting in a move by one senator to block Bernanke's nomination. Bernanke is not a bad or corrupt person, he is just incompetent!

    I guess we cannot expect anyone in charge of our funds to be perfect, after all, if they were; they would not be in Washington! I would rather see Bernanke receive the “Peter Principle” award!

    December 16, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  29. bill

    bernanke was the cause of mortgage foreclosures in the first place by agressively raising rates after banks signed people up with adjustible rate loans. he is the bankers god at the expense of the country.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  30. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    How much bail out money was used to get his picture on the cover.

    December 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  31. Cindy, Alpharetta, GA

    Great story about Time's Person of the Year. But final comments on whether Bernake was the best choice from a marketing standpoint were uncalled for and silly. Mr Bernake is a well thought out and evaluated choice. Time isn't a tabloid as far as I know and don't even suggest that they should act in any way like one. I, for one, who takes Newsweek and The Economist subscriptions, will go out and BUY the Time issue BECAUSE they picked Mr. Bernake.

    PS Josh, I know it has been a long time, but I remember your starting in Atlanta with WABE. Still curious to know why you left. Money, I suppose...????

    December 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  32. ashlee ford

    Allow me to start out by saying that Adolf Hitler was also Time Magazine's man of the year in 1939. If this is not propaganda, I truly don't know what is. Ben Bernake is far from man of the year, he should be hunted like an animal and skinned like one when caught. This man has raped,robbed and ruined this economy and not only does he go unpunished,but is honored and awarded more power for it????ONLY IN AMERICA! When will people see that the FEDERAL RESERVE has far more power than anyone in Washington,including the president and owns this country. How about awarding person of the year to someone that deserves it, the name Ron Paul comes to mind, but I guess that makes me a crazy Tea Bagger. I am shocked and disappointed that anyone would see Ben Bernake for anything other than what he obviously is,a thief in a suit without a soul or a conscious.

    December 16, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  33. Angie

    Why don't we just name all the CEOs of Banks and financial corporations men of the decade?

    After all they did what no other man single handedly could have done. They ran our economy to the ground.

    December 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Tom

    You don't have to look very far to find people who could be considered deserving of notice like this. How about some of the Iranian protesters that risk getting their brains beat out or worse, or some of the aid workers in Africa. Yes once again time shows itself to be shallow, hollow and agenda driven. For this reason I no longer read their magazine but I used to be a subscriber. Bernanke is a sleeze who is now being elevated to sainthood because, for a large salary, he is willing to do the bidding of this administration.

    December 16, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  35. David

    This is coming late in the day and sorry for that.

    Personally, I'd vote for you for person of the year because I don't think I'd understand any of this without watching you.

    Having said that, I think Ben Bernanke should be person of the year for keeping things together when pretty much everyone was freaking out on the economy. I remember watching with you Heidi when the Fed Chief was talking about core business functions being solid. I think they were to be honest. But the banking and credit crisis was of such an impact that the whole economy was imperiled. Am I right in recalling that the Fed under Bernanke stepped into the banking business to buy commercial paper the loans banks make to companies so that they have the fluidity to make their payroll? To me this was a massive picking up of the slack that truly helped people on mainstreet.

    December 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  36. mriley256

    I have seen some strange things come out of Washington but the tactic the Republicans pulled yesterday takes the cake. Instead of working on a health care bill, it seems the Republicans are having a tantrum and demanded the 700 + ammendment be read out loud. Give us a break! Does your next move involve a sucker punch? Quit whinning, you are starting to act like Hannity and Beck.

    December 17, 2009 at 4:29 am |
  37. David Mark Riley

    I had just gotten over the Minority leader declaring that he was holding a copy of the Constitution and began quoting from the Bill of Rights when, lo and behold, another Republican showed me how to play "get back" by requiring the reading of the 700+ pages of a health care ammendment. I guess it took him 3 hours to figure out what a bad idea that was. Do your job and your toys will not be taken away!

    Thanks to all our men and women
    in uniform. It is because of you that we are free.

    December 17, 2009 at 5:52 am |
  38. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Is Time magazine even important anymore this news book is as old as the hills living off from roalty's surely its getting close to exstinction.

    December 17, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  39. Carl Altenhof

    Heidi, Your comments thar the Fed chairman miss the reasn for the recession by failing to note subprime morgages is incorrect. Ben said that subprime was not enough to bring on the recrssion is correct. Subprime, alone, would not have caused the dip. Many, many other problems along with subprime caused the recession. You need to point out your short thinking to your viewers. Rich

    December 17, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  40. ken, nj

    Bernanke should have been nominated the worst person of the year. He was in charge of the federal reserve while the economic meltdown occured now he is a hero because he brought us back from the brink. Who said we were on the brink, bernanke. The federal reserve needs to be abolished because they are just a no interest loan service for wall street and the banks. The federal reserve and bernanke do nothing for main street. Wake up america.

    December 17, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  41. george conrad

    I agree with Ken from N.J. Federal Reserve should be abolished. They are no more federal than federal express. Alex Jones should be Man of the year for his movie " THE OBAMA DECEPTION" for exposing what The Elite , Bilderberg's, Trilateral commission are doing to our country. Ben Brenenke is a pupet for them. They feed us lie after lie. Research everything Obama promised during the election and in every case he did the opposite. Those of you who have not seen this movie should it's free and will take an hr. and 53 min's of your time. "WAKE UP AMERICA'" why are they trying to rush everything on us? Health Care Bill, Global Warming Bill . It's so easy to tell when Obama 's lying his lip's are moving.

    December 18, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  42. Gerry

    How's that AGW working out for you, DC? Sun Spot and Solar activity control the cooling and warming cycles on planet earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars......... Global Warming is a Socialist Propoganda HOAX!
    Green Energy=Red Government
    With historic low levels of Solar Activity, Al Gore (et al) is going to look very silly and foolsh in the coming years. Burrrrrrr

    December 19, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  43. Matt

    The Simpsons Itchy and Scratchy Land. Itchy and Scratchy money...I'll take a thou$$$and...........$$$orry, Itchy and Scratchy Land does not accept Itchy and Scratchy money. S.O.L. I mean I.O.U. I mean..........................

    December 20, 2009 at 8:38 am |