NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner gathered last week in an auditorium to reflect on their response to the 2008 financial crisis. Their audience: A global group of government officials who might have to respond to the next one.
The closed-door reunion last week, which marks the trio’s first joint panel discussion since they left office, is part of a new effort at Yale University to update the playbook for dealing with financial panics. The scholars are calling it a “New Bagehot,” referring to Walter Bagehot, author of a famous 1873 book, “Lombard Street,” that central bankers still use as a guide for crisis management.
Mr. Geithner, who helped organize the gathering, called it “a master class in financial crises for the firefighter, focused on the very practical craft of making choices in the fog of war in the midst of a panic.” Rather than looking at how monetary policy or regulations might prevent a crisis, this class addresses another, less commonly asked question, he said: “What do you do when the system is burning?”
It seems they really want to divert attention from their monetary policy shortcomings!