Bernanke’s treatment did not fully restore economic health, but problems eased. And when one compares how the U.S. economy has fared with others that suffered the same symptoms, the results are even more impressive. The U.S. avoided the staggering unemployment that afflicts Spain and Italy, and the dispiriting lack of growth that grips Britain and France. Its banks are in better shape than those in Germany and Japan. Despite having the smallest fiscal stimuli of any Western country, the U.S. economy boasts higher growth than almost all its rivals.
It is hard to imagine the electorate re-electing Obama without Bernanke’s aggressive use of monetary policy to spur spending and reduce unemployment. It is the reason why Obama was able to avoid the fate of other Western political leaders.
The financial crisis was like Superstorm Sandy, leveling governments and deposing the political executives voters held accountable. Obama was a rare survivor; his counterparts in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark all went down with the ship.