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Did Rick Perry just threaten Ben Bernanke?
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Did Rick Perry just threaten Ben Bernanke?

Texas Republican aims a very serious word at Fed chairman

  • Rick Perry speaks at the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair on Monday.
    Robert Chris Daemmrich/Texas TribuneRick Perry speaks at the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair on Monday.

Yes, it's political silly season.

But, campaigning in Iowa, Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry has just said something shocking.

He's unleashed the "T" word, and I don't mean taxes: treason. Perry aimed his odd accustion-meets-threat at Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what you all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry drawled. “Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion.”

Here's the video clip, in which Perry seems to be referring to the Fed's strategy of quantitative easing:

No matter your political persuasion, treason a serious accusation, especially when aimed at the brainy chairman of an independent economic institution that has the primary job of keeping inflation under control and boosting U.S. employment (not to mention regulating banks, U.S. money supply, and other important matters).

Reaction to Perry's remarks has been swift.

Tony Fratto, a Treasury official under the Bush administration, tweeted the following: "Gov. Perry's comments about Chmn. Bernanke are inappropriate and unpresidential."

Nouriel Roubini, the economics professor lovingly known as "Dr. Doom" was even harsher, tweeting that the "Texan thug" was making "murder threats" against Bernanke, the Guardian reported.

Here's how the Fed states its mission:

  • conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.
  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers.
  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets.
  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system.

Treason does not appear in the above, by the way.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Perry warns of possibly 'treasonous' monetary policy

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Gov. Rick Perry used Texas-style fighting words Monday night in a warning directed at U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: Print more money before Election Day 2012, he said, and things could get “ugly.”

In remarks that lit up the blogosphere, Perry said it would be almost “treasonous” for Bernanke, in his role as head of the central bank, to inject more money into circulation to try to prop up the economy before the election that the Texas governor is hoping to win.

Perry made the comments Monday evening to a gathering of Republicans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was held at the home of Steve Armstrong, chairman of the Linn County Republican Party.

“If this guy prints more between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to 'em in Iowa, but we would treat 'em pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry said in response to a question from the audience.

“I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion,’’ he said. It seemed clear that Perry meant to say “treasonous” to begin with but had accidentally uttered the word “treacherous” instead.

“We’ve already tried this,” Perry said. “All it’s going to be doing is devaluing the dollar in your pocket, and we cannot afford that.”

Perry was asked afterward whom he was talking about when he spoke of "this guy" committing treason. He said he was talking about the Federal Reserve. Bernanke was first appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush. He was re-appointed by President Barack Obama last year.

—Jay Root/Texas Tribune

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