Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a Congressional committee on Tuesday that "the recovery is close to faltering," The New York Times reports.According to the Times, Bernanke said that the Fed is ready to do more to help the economy, but that it can't fix all the problems alone.
"Monetary policy can be a powerful tool, but it is not a panacea for the problems currently faced by the U.S. economy," Bernanke said. "Fostering healthy growth and job creation is a shared responsibility of all economic policy makers."
In the past, the Times reports, Bernanke has suggested that the economy would recover as long as the government did not interfere. Tuesday's testimony suggested that Bernanke thinks the government needs to act.
Reuters called Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee his "bleakest assessment yet of the fragile U.S. recovery."
Citing anemic employment, depressed confidence, and financial risks from Europe, Bernanke urged lawmakers not to cut spending too quickly in the short term even as they grapple with trimming the long-run budget deficit.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Bernanke also expressed empathy for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have taken to the streets of New York recently to protest inequality and other economic concerns."Very generally I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what’s happening," Bernanke said. "They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess and they're dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington."
"On some level I can’t blame them," he said. "Like everyone else, I’m dissatisfied with what the economy is doing right now."