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Ben Bernanke 60 Minutes Transcript

Ben Bernanke 60 Minutes Transcript - “It’s certainly possible,” Bernanke said during an interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” according to a transcript provided by CBS “It depends on the efficacy of the [existing] program. It depends, on inflation. And finally, it depends on how the economy looks.“

Bernanke defended the Fed’s already-announced $600 billion purchase of Treasury securities, pointing out that high unemployment is a major concern while inflation is dangerously low.

“We’re getting awfully close to the range where prices would actually start falling,” which would lead to falling wages and an overall downward spiral for the economy, Bernanke said.

Critics who say the Fed risks overheating the economy and fueling inflation “are not looking at the risks of not acting,” he said. “Fear of inflation, I think, is way overstated.”

The risk of a double-dip recession “doesn’t seem likely,” Bernanke said, because some of the most cyclical parts of the economy, such as housing, “can’t get much weaker” than they already are.

However, the unemployment rate remaining at high levels for a long period makes consumers and households less confident and is the primary source of risk of another slowdown in the economy, Bernanke said.

Since the peak of the last cycle through the end of last year, the U.S. economy lost 8.5 million jobs. Only 1 million have been created since then, not accounting for new entries into the labor force. At the same time, long-term unemployment is at more than 40%.

Ben Bernanke 60 Minutes Transcript

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