It would appear that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is doing all that he can to ensure that conditions for both the U.S. economy and financial markets get worse not better. At least, that’s the conclusion that can be drawn from his statement before the Joint Economic Committee today in Washington on the central bank’s outlook for the economy.
Monetary policy can be a powerful tool, but it is not a panacea for the problems currently faced by the U.S. economy. Fostering healthy growth and job creation is a shared responsibility of all economic policymakers, in close cooperation with the private sector. Fiscal policy is of critical importance, as I have noted today, but a wide range of other policies–pertaining to labor markets, housing, trade, taxation, and regulation, for example–also have important roles to play. For our part, we at the Federal Reserve will continue to work to help create an environment that provides the greatest possible economic opportunity for all Americans.
Unless he says something in the Question & Answer session to contradict this dismal view of our current condition and an expressed unwillingness for the Fed to act, it would seem that the helicopter fleet is permanently grounded and markets shouldn’t expect the printing press to again be summoned for the greater good.