I blanked out yesterday on Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony because it didn’t seem like anything interesting had happened. Just the usual “ready and able to step in if needed” stuff that he says every time. But today’s New York Times summary has a fine little tidbit that I’m sorry I missed. Republicans, as usual, pounded the table and insisted that Bernanke not so much as consider the possibility of easier monetary policy:
Democrats made no similar effort to convince Mr. Bernanke that he should take additional action. They congratulated the Fed chairman in the manner of people confident that they are speaking with an ally. “I want to thank you for your steadfast commitment to taking action as you deem appropriate,” said Representative Michael E. Capuano, Democrat of Massachusetts. “Thank you for not giving up.”
Representative John Carney, Democrat of Delaware, went one step further. “The Fed is doing everything it can to address the unemployment part of your mandate, is that correct?” he asked Mr. Bernanke.
Mr. Bernanke, momentarily startled, responded that the Fed could do more, and was considering whether it should.
Mr. Bernanke paused a moment before responding that the Fed “certainly” could do more, and was considering whether it should.
I liked the original better, and I’ll bet it’s more accurate. Bernanke knows perfectly well that he’s doing nowhere near all he could. It must indeed be startling to him that an awful lot of Democrats don’t seem to understand that.