The Federal Reserve decided to stay above the financial fray today and held its benchmark rate unchanged at 5.25 percent. The move is seen as further confirmation of Ben Bernanke's hands off approach to decision making – a position that contrasts sharply with that of his predecessor.
"Greenspan wasn't afraid of knocking heads together" admitted a Fed insider, speaking under the pseudonym of Bennett, "His Yoda-like exterior can be misleading. Once he has an Espresso and a chocolate donut inside of him he can come at you like a pit-bull."
Another insider spoke of Greenspan's infamous run-in with Dick Cheney at last year's Davos meeting. "They'd been drinking, for sure, and Alan was looking for a fight. Before we knew it there they were rolling around in the snow. Then Dick pulled out his Uzi, and things calmed down pretty quickly."
By contrast, the atmosphere in the Fed's policy setting meetings has become positively becalmed under Bernanke's stewardship. Today's decision marks the ninth consecutive time that the Fed has decided to leave the rate unchanged.
"Things have definitely changed under Ben", continued Bennett, "Everyone sits around sipping herbal tea and talking about their vacations. We don't usually get around to discussing the rate change until the last few minutes. And even then, the default is always to leave things the same unless anyone has any really good reasons to do otherwise."
Decision frameworks have also changed at the Fed. Bernanke is known to favor alternative approaches to policy setting including games of chance, feats of strength and the occasional tug of war. Last Christmas Bernanke famously introduced a Wheel of Fortune in to the policy meeting. "After some initial reluctance, most folks at the table got into the spirit of things. It really brought the policy team together," Stated Bennett, "So much so that no-one noticed that all but one segment of the wheel contained the phrase: no change."
Neither Ben Bernanke nor Alan Greenspan was available to comment for this article.