Shirley Temple Black, the child actor who lifted America’s spirits and Hollywood’s profits during the Great Depression with tunes such as “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” then left the spotlight at 21 for a life of political service and limited celebrity, has died. She was 85.
Intellectually, Ben S. Bernanke was prepared to tackle the gravest economic crisis since the 1930s as chairman of the Federal Reserve. A Princeton University economics professor, he was an expert on the causes of the Great Depression. He was a practitioner as well as economic historian, serving on the Fed’s Board of Governors and as chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Yet in other ways, from dealings with reporters to bankers and members of Congress, there was little that could have prepared Bernanke for the challenges to come. Here are some highlights of his eight-year term, which ends tomorrow:
On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president for the first time, promising an “adequate but sound” currency. The next day, a Sunday, he closed the nation’s banks. “We are now off the gold standard,” he privately declared to a group of advisers. Goldbugs in the president’s circle immediately began prophesying doom. One of his aides, Lewis Douglas, proclaimed “the end of Western civilization.”
The top elected official in Ramapo, New York, Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, wanted a minor-league baseball team and a new stadium to house it. The park would cost about $20 million and taxpayers wouldn’t have to cover it, he and paid consultants predicted three years ago.
When President George W. Bush was considering candidates to be chairman of the Federal Reserve in the autumn of 2005, the rap on Ben Bernanke, a brilliant economist, was that he had never faced a crisis, might be too soft for a challenge and wasn’t politically astute.