Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that he wishes more bankers would have gone to jail during the financial collapse of 2008.
"It would have been my preference to have more investigation of individual action, since obviously everything what went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm," he told USA Today
Bernanke is set to release his new memoir, "The Courage to Act," on Tuesday, which offers many new insights to his thinking during the downturn.
"I think there was a reasonably good chance that, barring stabilization of the financial system, that we could have gone into a 1930s-style depression," he said, explaining the enormity of the crisis. "The panic that hit us was enormous — I think the worst in U.S. history."
In many cases, the new book offers a defense of what the Fed did and did not do at the time.
Regarding the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, for example, Bernanke said, "We were very, very determined not to let it collapse, but we were out of bullets at that point."
While defending Fed policy during the crisis, Bernanke at the same time did acknowledge what he thought were faults. He said he and his colleagues perhaps failed, initially, to realize the depth of the downturn, and that he could have done more to explain to everyday Americans why it was good policy to rescue some of the financial firms that cased the downturn.
Many Americans know Bernanke from the 2011 HBO movie about the financial crisis, "Too Big to Fail," where he was portrayed by actor Paul Giamatti.
Asked if he's seen the film, Bernanke said, "I read the book, but I like to say I saw the original, so it wasn't necessary to see the movie."
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