President Obama is expected to decide by autumn whether to give Ben Bernanke a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chairman. Obama's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, has long been said to covet the job, while Bernanke has pushed back at the Obama administration on a couple of proposals, risking the president's displeasure. Bernanke says he doesn't agree with the need for a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency; the Fed has got a handle on that, he says, and in fact it has been announcing new rules for lending and meeting with consumer-advocacy groups regularly. Bernanke is also taking a somewhat different tack from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Summers over whether the Fed should supervise "systemic risk" in the financial system.
But Bernanke's performance during the financial crisis has been widely praised, making a move to replace him politically risky. Last week he silenced some critics in Congress by laying out an "exit strategy" for the Fed after the financial crisis. And a new Bloomberg poll of global investors shows that 75 percent of them like what he's done. "He's on top of his game," says veteran Fed watcher David Jones. There's still a chance Obama might decide on another candidate who is perhaps closer to his thinking; the White House declined to comment. But overall, it's looking much likelier that Bernanke will be reappointed. In that case, Summers will have to wait another four years for a shot at his dream job.