The Washington Post

Bernanke at the bar

(Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg)

After launching into an extended 45-minute diatribe about shortsighted moves by “those bastards in Congress” that could potentially exacerbate the nation’s already deeply troublesome budget imbalance, the Federal Reserve chairman reportedly bought a round of tequila shots for two customers he had just met who were seated on either side of him. ... “And hell, as long as we’re being honest, I might as well tell you that a truer estimate of the U.S. unemployment rate is actually up around 16 percent, with a 0.7 percent annual rate of economic growth if we’re lucky — if we’re lucky,” continued Bernanke, nearly knocking a full beer over while gesturing with his hands.

That’s basically just how a normal human would phrase this testimony:

It is clear that, overall, the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we had hoped. Recent revisions of government economic data show the recession as having been even deeper, and the recovery weaker, than previously estimated; indeed, by the second quarter of this year — the latest quarter for which official estimates are available — aggregate output in the United States still had not returned to the level that it had attained before the crisis. Slow economic growth has in turn led to slow rates of increase in jobs and household incomes. ... Another factor likely to weigh on the U.S. recovery is the increasing drag being exerted by the government sector. Notably, state and local governments continue to tighten their belts by cutting spending and employment in the face of ongoing budgetary pressures, while the future course of federal fiscal policies remains quite uncertain. ... In setting tax and spending policies for now and the future, policymakers should ... avoid fiscal actions that could impede the ongoing economic recovery.


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