Clearly Fed Chief Ben Bernanke has checked out and has started dreaming about retirement with yesterday’s Weekend at Bernie’s performance. Was Janet Yellen propping him up? And since when did the Chairman of the Federal Reserve become the President of the United States? His comments sounded like talking points sent directly from the White House. The Wall Street Journal reports here:
“A government shutdown, and perhaps even more so a failure to raise the debt limit, could have very serious consequences for the financial markets and for the economy,”. Bernanke said in his press conference following the policy meeting. “The Federal Reserve’s policy is to do whatever we can to keep the economy on course.”
Bernanke is chasing his tail with the employment scene, or lack-there-of. If he was doing his job correctly he’d focus on inflation and be done with it. At least we’ll be done with him soon enough, but if it’s Yellen as the next chair it won’t be long before it’s time to break out the “miss me yet?” t-shirts.
The Journal continues:
The Fed says it wants a lower unemployment rate, but Mr. Bernanke gave conflicting answers about how meaningful officials find the latest declines. At one point he said the unemployment rate was “perhaps the best single indicator of the state of the labor market.” But he later said “the unemployment rate is not necessarily a great measure in all circumstances of the state of the labor market overall.”
Mr. Bernanke also appeared to back away from a bond-buying marker the Fed had laid down in June. Then, Mr. Bernanke said at a press conference that officials expected the jobless rate to be around 7% when the Fed ended its $85 billion monthly bond buying program. He made no mention of that 7% marker in his statement Wednesday and played it down when asked about it. “There is not any magic number that we are shooting for,” Mr. Bernanke said. “We’re looking for overall improvement in the labor market.”