Federal Reserve Chairman Says Economy Is Hurting, Refuses To Do Anything About It

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spent the last two days testifying before Congress on the state of the U.S. economy. During his appearance before the House Financial Services Committee today, Bernanke noted that the economy is still recovering quite slowly:

The pace of economic recovery appears to have slowed during the first half of this year, with real gross domestic product (GDP) likely having risen at only a modest pace. In the labor market, the rate of job gains has diminished recently, and, following a period of improvement, the unemployment rate has been little changed at an elevated level since January.

But Bernanke then added that the Fed is not really going to do anything about it, even though it’s mandated to strive for full employment:

In its [most recent] statement, the [Federal Open Markets Committee] noted that it was prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.

This is, sadly, nothing new. As economist Chad Stone showed in U.S. News & World Report, the Fed has consistently failed in its obligation to fight unemployment:

The Economist opined that Bernanke “ought to be brimming with apologies for such a miserable performance.” Slate’s Matt Yglesias added, “it’s not that the economy is slowing down and then separately he’s considering what to do about it. Demand growth is slowing because he and his colleagues are refusing to stabilize it.”


Center for American Progress Action Fund economist Adam Hersh explained earlier this week that there are at least six things that the Fed could do to help boost the economy. Meanwhile, Republicans are actively trying to get Bernanke to swear that he won’t do anything else to spark employment growth.