On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went up to Capitol Hill to testify in front of the Joint Economic Committee. He faced a fairly skeptical, even hostile, audience, primarily the Republicans who think Bernanke has been doing too much to help the economy.
And he assured the members of Congress that if things get really bad, the Fed will be there to help.
“As always, the Federal Reserve remains prepared to take action as needed to protect the U.S. financial system and economy in the event that financial stresses escalate,” Bernanke said.
But the point is that things are already bad. And Bernanke was never asked the one question that had I been sitting up on the dais I would have liked to ask him: “Mr. Chairman: your academic research shows the necessity of central bankers taking aggressive, sometimes unprecedented action in the wake of financial crisis in order to avoid long term stagnation and economic misery. And yet, as Federal Reserve chairman you seem to be entirely ignoring your own research. The Fed refuses to take action to address the jobs crisis in this country, even as inflation stays at or below target. You are ignoring your legal mandate, ignoring your own research, ignoring the misery of millions who are unemployed for no good reason. My question for you, Mr. Chairman, is: Are you trying to get Mitt Romney elected president?”