Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bernanke Pontificates for The Graduates

So there I was doing my morning news surfing when I see this headline from the NY Times (AP content):

Fed Chief Tells Graduates: Don't Worry, Be Happy

Now the headline is a bit of hyperbole but I found a Reuters article on this same speech.
Economic growth is not an end in itself, but policy makers pursue it because richer countries are better able to provide health, jobs and a clean environment for their people, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Saturday.

It seems that in some ways, Mr. Bernanke may actually understand a bit of reality. But then I remember how Mr. Bernanke has responded when he's been reminded that job creation is one of the primary functions of the Federal Reserve. This from the Federal Reserve's own website (PDF):
The Federal Reserve sets the nation’s monetary policy to promote the objectives of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. The challenge for policy makers is that tensions among the goals can arise in the short run and that information about the economy becomes available only with a lag and may be imperfect.

My bold. Now as I mentioned yesterday, (and has been noted by others such as Dean Baker), there is a long way to go for our economy to be considered even remotely "robust."

Maybe I just need to do some adjustments to my tin-foil hat, but when I see Mr. Bernanke using a college commencement speech to dampen down salary expectations and telling students they shouldn't go for the dollar, what I'm hearing is an admission that "life sucks, get over it." (Although not in those exact words of course.) Of course, the idea of Mr. Bernanke lecturing on how "richer countries are better able to provide health, jobs and a clean environment for their people" is just one of the jokes we will be hearing from the annual commencement speech extravaganzas.

And because I can:

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