Gregg: If you're going to start blaming people, you should also credit people for the things they did right. Now, we were on the verge of a cataclysmic event in late 19-... er, 2008, and it didn't look good for us as a country as we were heading towards what looked like a massive financial meltdown of all our institutions. And it would've had a HUGE impact on Main Street. Yes, we've been through a very serious recession. But you're talking about something that could've been on a depression-type of level, and it didn't happen.
Why didn't it happen?
It didn't happen because the chairman of the Fed, along with the Treasury secretaries, both Paulson and Geithner, stepped in and did some really original things. And sure, they pushed the envelope, but if they hadn't pushed the envelope the disaster which would've occured would've been cataclysmic for us as an economy, and for Main Street specifically.
The way I describe it is this: it's like you're driving over a bridge and the bridge is about to collapse, and there's no way it's not going to collapse, except that a guy comes along and fixes it before you drive over it. You keep going, you don't even know the bridge got fixed. That's what happened here. Ben Bernanke came in, with the Fed, put significant resources into the economy and basically the financial structure, and stabilized the bridge so that the economy continued on.
Granted, we've still had a recession, but I think you have to give him a lot of credit for doing a very great job in really an extraordinarily difficult time.
CNBC: Well, I know you've heard the metaphor, 'The arsonist puts out the fire...'
Gregg: Well, he's not the arsonist.
~ Sen. Judd Gregg, Banking Committee Member, CNBC.com Video, "Late Rally for Bernanke", Mon. Jan 25th, 2009, 7:43AM ET