A Plaintive Plea From Mr. B?

Art Cashin of UBS looks at the Q&A portion following Fed Chairman Bernard Bernanke’s Cleveland speech last night.

Regardless of what you thought of the speech (Lessons from Emerging Market Economies on the Sources of Sustained Growth) it was the Q&A that produced the stir.

Via the Associated Press, here is a brief report on the event:

“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that long-term unemployment is an American “national crisis” and suggested that Congress should take further action to combat it. He also said lawmakers should provide more help to the battered housing industry. Bernanke noted that about 45 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for at least six months.

“This is unheard of,” he said in a question-and-answer session after a speech in Cleveland. “This has never happened in the post-war period in the United States. They are losing the skills they had, they are losing their connections, their attachment to the labor force.” He added: “The unemployment situation we have, the job situation, is really a national crisis.”

Bernanke said the government needs to provide support to help the long-term unemployed retrain for jobs and find work. And he suggested that Congress should take more responsibility.

Art notes that “there was even a line that might be seen as a cross between ‘I’ve done my job’ and ‘we’re plumb out of bullets’ “:

“Monetary policy can do a lot, but monetary policy is not a panacea,” Bernanke said.


Bernanke: U.S. Unemployment a ‘National Crisis’
Joshua Zumbrun and Vivien Lou Chen
Bloomberg, Sep 29, 2011 12:00 AM ET

Bernanke: Long-term unemployment a national crisis
AP Economics, September 28, 2011

Yahoo Finance version

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