Romney's plan to dump Bernanke may hurt markets

Easy money will always have its defenders, but in this case, it's also a question of Wall Street liking the Fed chairman's stewardship.

Will Romney's plan to replace Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke result in damage to the markets? Some analysts apparently think so - or want you to think so.

The Hill:

Mitt Romney's promise to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if elected president is stirring anxiety among some financial analysts - who fear such a move could send the nation's markets tumbling.

Romney, throughout his White House campaign, has argued he knows what needs to be done to get the economy running at full steam.

But the concern among market watchers is that if Romney dumps Bernanke, whose term expires at the beginning of 2014, he would remove the person who some believe is the weak economy's primary lifeline.

"There's a view that the economy cannot sustain itself, that it's really the Fed that is fueling economic growth, and that a post-Bernanke Fed is just not as favorable to growth," said Brian Gardner, senior vice president of Washington research at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Gardner wrote in a note to clients Thursday that a Romney win could lead to a market decline, operating on the premise that Bernanke's vow of long-term economic stimulus would then be short-lived.

The Fed chairman has not won any friends among Republicans for his efforts to boost the economy, which have included three rounds of "quantitative easing."

The massive bond purchases have sent stock markets soaring, but conservatives fret that the Fed's rapidly-expanding portfolio is going to be a nightmare to unwind and could result in severe inflation.

The bond purchases have arguably contributed nothing to econmic growth. It has contributed, however, to the reserves of big banks. Companies would rather make their balance sheets look good than increase the number and amount of loans to get the economy moving again.

Reining in the Fed will take some doing. Romney has the right idea as he has identified the source of the problem; a Fed chairman whose loose money policies may have already begun a bout of bad inflation.