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Short story - Bernanke is leaving his position soon and if he doesn't start to taper down now he gives his successor carte blanche to keep going full steam ahead. If that happens when the economy tanks "It's Bernanke's fault" will make "It's Bush's fault" look like a kids game.

Time to protect his 'legacy'.

The POLITICAL Aspect Of "Tapering" in [Market-Ticker]
 

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Bernanke's major screw up was continuing to increase interest rates when he took over from Greenspan. If he had and waited six month adjustable rates would not have hit mortgages so hard. Many people would have tried to hold on to their homes. As it was almost anyone with an AR walked and that was what lenders had been pushing. Only us that had 9% mortgages under Carter knew to stay away from adjustable rates and front end low rates.

If Bernanke had stopped the crash would have been a hard landing. Some mortgage default swaps could have been repackaged. But you know the history.
 
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