We’re looking for ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market. There’s not a specific number we have in mind. What we’ve seen in the last six months isn’t it.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke • Discussing the Fed’s plan to expand its mortgage debt holdings at a rate of $40 billion per month for the foreseeable future, in an effort to jump-start the economy. The third round of quantitative easing, lovingly called QE3 by the monetary nerds, drew a major reaction from the market, pushing benchmark indexes to a level not seen since people listened to “Chocolate Rain” on the regular. If monetary policy makes you happy to be alive, today was your day.
If you’re the Fed chairman, you’ve got to be above politics.Sen. Jon Kyl • Offering a bit of unsolicited advice to our boy Ben Bernanke in the whole debt ceiling mess: Stay out of it, be above it, let the children fight over it. Which, let’s face it, is pretty much his only good option at this point. For what it’s worth, he’s done a good job of this so far: While he’s warned that the debt ceiling needs to go up, he’s stopped short of favoring any one way to do it, a response Barney Frank calls “appropriate.” Not that he’s above actions that raise the ire of the GOP — the Fed’s recent spate of bond purchases, $600 billion in all, have ticked off Republicans. But he hasn’t pissed ‘em off too much lately. source (via • follow)
The cuts that have been made so far don’t seem to us to have very significant consequences for short-term economic activity… so far I’ve not seen any fiscal changes that have really changed our near-term outlook.Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke • Speaking at his press conference today, when asked by a reporter about the package of budget cuts congressional Democrats and Republicans agreed upon. Bernanke’s dim view of the package is very easy to understand, as the size of the cuts were incredibly overstated; taking the long-term value of the package (this year’s savings reportedly only amount to $353 million or so) as $38.5 billion, you’re still talking about chump change as far as the total deficit, estimated over $1.5 trillion, is concerned. Bernanke also said Standard & Poor’s downgrading America’s outlook rating isn’t surprising, because everyone knows the U.S. is on shaky fiscal ground, but that he hopes it will spur more action. source
The job market has improved only slowly. … This gain was barely sufficient to accommodate the inflow of recent graduates and other new entrants into the labor force and, therefore, not enough to significantly erode the wide margin of slack that remains in our labor market.Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke • Explaining, in front of the House Budget Committee, the issues he and others are having with the slow pace of the economic recovery. While things are recovering, job growth is way too slow for his comfort. In other news, Bernanke says that inflation is likely to stay low for the foreseeable future, and that the government needs to get the budget situation dealt with. “Creditors would never be willing to lend to a government with debt, relative to national income, that is rising without limit,” he says, suggesting that we could face an actual fiscal crisis if we don’t take heed. Great. source (via • follow)
It is very important to keep politics out of monetary policy. You want to be very careful not to take steps that hurt our credibility.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner • Telling Republicans in no uncertain terms to stay out of the Federal Reserve’s BIZ-NASS. As we noted last night, Republicans are coming down hard on the money people pretty heavily, with some threatening to strip the Fed of some of its rights. May we offer a suggestion here? How about the legislators stick to legislating and the Treasury sticks to the money stuff? source (via • follow)
On its current economic trajectory, the United States runs the risk of seeing millions of workers unemployed or underemployed for many years. As a society, we should find that outcome unacceptable.Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke • Explaining why the much-maligned stimulus plan (which involves shoving $600 billion into the economy whether it likes it or not) is necessary to save the economy. Republicans and Tea Partiers claim that the plan could raise prices of essentials such as food. Internationally, there’s worries about the stimulus driving down the value of the dollar (thereby making exports to the U.S. more desirable). Republicans in Congress are talking about stripping the Fed of its mandate to promote full employment as a result of this action. We’d like to see Republicans, rather than reacting to things they don’t like, offering up ideas. Is it really that hard, guys? You’ve had two-plus years. Where are your economy-fixing ideas? source (via • follow)