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Person of the Year 2009

TIME has named Ben Bernanke person of the year for 2009. Who is Bernanke you may ask? (Which, of course, I would respond with “Do you live under a rock?”) Bernanke is the 56-year-old chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the U.S., the most important and least understood force shaping the American ‘” and global ‘” economy. Those green bills featuring dead Presidents are labeled “Federal Reserve Note” for a reason: the Fed controls the money supply. It is an independent government agency that conducts monetary policy, which means it sets short-term interest rates ‘” which means it has immense influence over inflation, unemployment, the strength of the dollar and the strength of your wallet. TIME contends that ever since global credit markets began imploding, its mild-mannered chairman has dramatically expanded those powers and reinvented the Fed. What do you think? Has his “reinvention” touched your life? Are you still waiting for that tender embrace from the feds? GO!

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