The left hates him. The right hates him even more. But Ben Bernanke saved the economy—and has navigated masterfully through the most trying of times.
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
So far, China’s food safety story has no happy ending. In the last 18 months, news outlets have published reports of glow-in-the-dark pork (thanks to the addition of the carcinogenic chemical clenbuterol), exploding watermelons (loaded with harmful growth accelerators), rice contaminated with heavy metals (the result of polluted soil), mushrooms imbued with bleach (to make them look fresher), and bread covered with starch (to hide mold).
China is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural products, and it exports roughly $5 billion worth of those products to the United States every year. Although supermarket labels may not indicate it, a growing proportion of the U.S. diet is now made in China. When Americans drink apple juice or eat tilapia, cod, or canned peaches, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, there is a good chance they are eating a Chinese product. And that food probably has not been tested.