The case has been used in a first-year required course called Global Economies and Markets in a module on monetary policy. On October 24, 2005, President Bush nominated Ben S. Bernanke to be chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years along with a 14-year term on the board of governors. With the U.S. Senate confirmation widely anticipated, Bernanke was expected to take over stewardship of the U.S. monetary policy from Chairman Alan Greenspan when he retired in January 2006. While the U.S. economy was in good shape at the end of 2005, Bernanke had to prepare to deal with two challenges when charting a course for managing U.S. monetary policy. First, the sharp rise in energy prices that began in 2002 had the potential to bring back the specter of inflation and dampen desired consumer and business spending. Second, the housing boom could turn into a housing bust, throwing the mortgage industry into turmoil and weakening consumer business confidence. There was also the possibility that the housing bust could affect broader financial markets. Bernanke had to consider his options for dealing with contingencies in the not-so-distant future.
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