Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, expressed confidence that the worst recession since the 1930s is almost over. In a speech before a Brookings Institution audience Tuesday morning Bernanke made the guardedly optimistic assessment that the economy likely had begun to grow again. He added that growth would be too slow to prevent unemployment from continuing to rise.
Item: The National Public Radio news blog, “The Two-Way,” reported on August 7: “The relatively good news that the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.4 percent in July had President Barack Obama claiming credit for his administration for stabilizing the economy.” The president was quoted saying, in part: “Today, we’re pointed in the right direction…. We’ve rescued our economy from catastrophe.”
At a town hall meeting held in his Massachusetts district, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank provided a surprising response to a constituent’s inquiry about H.R. 1207, Rep. Ron Paul's bill calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve.
News stories on August 19 reported that Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General (SIG) of the U.S. treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), had agreed to audit the $301 billion of federal asset guarantees extended to Citigroup Inc. since last November.
The Obama administration is expected to release a report soon estimating that the 10-year budget deficit for the United States will be roughly $9 trillion, up approximately $2 trillion from the previous projection of $7.108 trillion, Reuters reported on August 21.
Item: President Barack Obama, reported the Bloomberg news agency for July 11, “said his $787 billion stimulus bill ‘has worked as intended’ as he pushed back against Republican criticism that his recovery program has failed to rescue the economy.”
Nine financial firms that received a total of $32.6 billion through the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) paid their top traders and bankers more than $5 billion in bonuses last year, even as those same firms lost $81 billion, according to a report released on Thursday by New York Attorney general Andrew Cuomo.
Just call it irony. The same day the value of the dollar plunged to a current-year low as measured against six other major currencies, and the same week in which the U.S. Treasury is in the midst of a record $106 billion debt auction, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded a question on PBS’s “News Hour” from a man who touched on the problem:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke must know he’s in trouble. This week he completed a “town hall”-style meeting for PBS television to promote the Federal Reserve and suppress what appears to be overwhelming congressional support for an independent audit of the Fed.