Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. (Courtesy Reuters)

Regardless of who wins the 2012 U.S. presidential election, President Barack Obama will end his first term having decisively shaped U.S. monetary policy for at least the next two decades. Thanks to a stroke of lucky timing -- the Federal Reserve Board happened to have an unusually high number of vacancies during the president's first term -- Obama will have either appointed or reappointed every single one of the seven members of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, including its chairman, Ben Bernanke, by the end of 2012. With the governors each set to serve a 14-year term, they will ensure Obama's long-term impact on the U.S. economy. 

Bernanke was originally appointed board chair by President George W. Bush in 2006. In 2010, Obama reappointed him until 2014. Even if Obama or his successor stripped him of that role, he will continue to

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  • SYLVESTER EIJFFINGER is Jean Monnet Professor of European Financial and Monetary Integration and Professor of Financial Economics at the Center for Economic Research at Tilburg University. EDIN MUJAGIC is a monetary economist and Ph.D. candidate at Tilburg University.
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