Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., exhorted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to stimulate the economy before November through some form of quantitative easing or other monetary policy, which Bernanke said could create jobs.
“Despite two false starts, we’re having a much rougher time than we ever imagined getting unemployment down,” Schumer told the Senate Banking Committee. “So get to work, Mr. Chairman.” Schumer said Bernanke needed to stimulate the economy because Congress refuses — “maybe after November we will,” he opined.
“We will act in an apolitical, non-partisan manner to do what is necessary for the economy,” Bernanke replied. “We have said we are willing to take further action,” he added, saying “it’s very important that we see sustained improvement in the labor market.”
Before Schumer’s appeal, Bernanke praised the measures that he had previously undertaken to stimulate the economy.
“My own assessment is that quantitative easing and Operation Twist have been effective in supporting economic recovery,” Bernanke said, taking credit especially for launching the apparent economic recovery in 2009. “There’s also questions about side effects — risks that might be associated with their use, therefore they shouldn’t be used lightly,” he added, while saying that he would likely use them again if job growth remained “stuck in the mud.”
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., observing that Bernanke was “clearly considering” more quantitative easing, warned against the plan. “If we’re printing more money to buy more of our national debt,” he said, “we are diluting the value of our dollar over time.”