On September 11, 10 years after some of the worst moments of the crisis, some of the authors of the papers presented highlights of their findings in a full-day conference at Brookings.
Brookings Institution Day 1: Response To The Financial Crisis – Part 1
I’m Ben Bernanke and on behalf of Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and myself I want to welcome you to this symposium on the response to the financial crisis. This symposium is being cosponsored by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and monetary policy here at Brookings Institution. David Wessel director and by the Yale Program on financial stability Andrew Metrick director. I want to give special thanks to David and Andrew and their teams for the tremendous work they’ve done both on the logistics for these programs and the substance in particular. We had a program a press conference at Yale in March that was very good as well. So again thanks very much to Brookings Hutchens and to the program. When I first became chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2006 literally one of the first things I did was I asked the staff to give me the handbook on what you do in the case of the financial crisis. And they provided me a little notebook and the notebook was typed on a manual typewriter and mimeographed and had about four pages in it and it said open the discount window and that was about it and quite seriously quite literally and I think Tim Geithner had a similar experience at the New York Fed. We went into one most complicated and consequential financial crises in human history with very little in the way of a playbook for thinking about how to how to address the crisis. Now the question is you know could we do better.
Can we take in particular this 10 year anniversary that we are now marking we could sit around and swap war stories will we do something that will be constructive that would help future generations of firefighters be more effective in responding to whatever crisis they might face. Tim has been particularly strong on this point. He’s worked with the Yale Program in setting up some educational programs to help train people who central bankers and others who would respond to the next crisis. And we thought that for this conference for this anniversary we might create a new manual manual that would be useful again to future generations as they deal with whatever challenges that they will face. So what we did was we asked a lot of our senior colleagues from the time of the crisis and the various agencies to write papers on the issues that they faced the programs they constructed the details of how they thought about those programs and in particular to tell us not only what they did and why but what they thought about and didn’t do and why so that we could have a better understanding of these things and to do all this while the institutional memory is still fresh and it was a big project but we got a tremendous response virtually everyone we asked to write a paper agreed to write a paper. Many people actually have jobs. And nevertheless they agreed to write to write these substantive papers. We had some very outstanding assistance Nelly laying my former colleague from the Fed was a masterEd. We had Debra McClellan and other editors and Ariz working. But in general the authors did a great job. We have created a series of papers on various aspects of the response to the crisis.
Those are now online and those papers plus some additional papers will eventually become a book that again we hope will be useful to future to future generations. So let me just say now and I’ll say again later but let me say again thanks to the authors. Thanks to those who contributed to the editors and to those who helped organize the presentations. Now we could of course have had a seminar type conference where each paper was presented and we have discussed thisetc. But that would take three or four days. So we thought instead what we would do today is have a series of.
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