Biography: Bernanke was appointed Federal Reserve chairman in 2006. He is serving a second term, which is set to expire in 2014.
Why he’s a contender: Bernanke sat at the head of the Federal Reserve — which is supposed to police the nation’s biggest banks — leading up to the financial crisis largely created by those same banks.
He kept his job anyway after Congress confirmed him for a second term in 2010.
Bernanke consistently has been tone deaf to the struggles of savers.
In defending low savings rates he said: “And so in trying to strengthen the economy we are actually helping savers by making the returns higher as we can see in what’s happened in the stock market, for example.”
What his agency did: The Federal Reserve has artificially suppressed interest rates for years — and promises to do so for years to come — in an effort to spur lending. In response, banks have made it more difficult for consumers to get credit and are sitting on more than a trillion dollars of money that could be lent but isn’t.
Since 2008, the average 5-year CD rate has fallen from 3.13% APY to 1.06% APY as a result of the policies Bernanke and the other members of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee have put into place.