So on Tuesday Bernanke spoke to some banker's association in Atlanta and covered some important topics: like, is the humidity there not craaaazy?
Okay, not really. He re-iterated the same stuff he always does. That they'd rather pick from their tool belt of regulatory options to affect the economy rather than doing interest rate changes. Why? Does he not crave absolute power? Well the real answer is the interest rate is already so low, it's no longer a tool that the federal reserve really has available to them. But if they admit to this maybe consumer confidence will implode...or something. Not to mention continuing to keep interest rates incredibly low is really working out for the banker elite who's making a killing on borrowing money from the government at 0% and then lending it back to the government via treasury bonds for 3 or 4%.
He mentions trying to keep inflation low, though it's clear from low rates for so long that this is not a priority for the voting majority of the federal reserve board. Instead it's more cheap talk to buoy up certain people (large debtors like banks who have a bunch of mortgages or the government itself) rather than worry about those who are at a critical point (the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes).
He states that his objective is to keep inflation low and keep the value of the dollar high and his excuse for why this is not actually happening is the importation of oil. Gas prices, something the reserve doesn't even look at in its core inflation index, are wildly inflating and somehow contributing to a falling dollar value. The US actually only imports about 51% of its oil. Something like 350 billion a year. With a 14 trillion GDP, 1 trillion handed to banks as free money, and a looming national debt, Bernanke really wants to blame this one on gas prices? If anything the falling price of the dollar might be contributing to speculation on oil as a commodity which could be one of the main reasons for the rising price of gas at the pump.
His only concessions to the real people is that they are working on achieving "maximum employment" (almost as if he is admitting to a possible future of long term high unemployment rates). I guess he is working on that like I am working on being nicer to rich, elite bankers. Which is to say, not at all. Then he only briefly mentions that the lower growth rate the GDP is seeing is somehow contributing to what people really care about (employment, real wages) because it is "frustratingly slow". I'm not sure why he'd connect GDP with employment. That's like connecting stock market prices, dividends, and shareholder profits with real wage gains for the working class. The two are not correlated. Or if anything, are negatively correlated.