The Washington Post

Fed conferences are less exotic these days

Ben Bernanke’s luxurious travels are no more in the era of austerity. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

Bernanke spoke to the San Francisco Fed conference on Asia and was obliged to travel to the spectacular Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara, where the best rooms go for more than $2,000 a night in season.

He and a couple dozen Fed employees were forced to stay at the resort, which “sprawls over 78 beachfront acres, nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains,” the resort’s Web site says, noting the place is “luxurious, understated, intimate and relaxed.”

Bernanke went from there to the Boston Fed’s annual economic conference, held not in Beantown but at the stunning Wequasset Inn 90 miles away, which bills itself as “quite simply the finest resort” on the Cape.

Alas, the good times, are over. This year, our colleague Neil Irwin reports, the Boston Fed conference was held a couple weeks ago in its downtown Boston building and the San Francisco Fed conference will be in its downtown San Francisco building later this month.

Well, as the Texas Rangers are saying, wait till next year. . . maybe.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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