Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his annual address to Congress on Tuesday, and he did very little to give lawmakers much confidence about where the U.S. economy is heading. Bernanke told members of Congress that recent economic data points “suggest further weakness ahead” and that the Federal Reserve is projecting that the U.S. unemployment rate will remain at 7 percent or above all the way through the end of 2014. Now, it is important to keep in mind that Federal Reserve forecasts are almost always way too optimistic.
The actual numbers almost always end up being much worse than what the Fed says they will be. So if Bernanke is saying that the U.S. unemployment rate will be 7 percent or higher until the end of 2014, then what will the real numbers end up looking like? During his testimony, Bernanke seemed unusually gloomy about the direction of the U.S. economy. He seemed resigned to the fact that there really isn’t that much more that the Federal Reserve can do to stimulate the U.S. economy. Yes, the Federal Reserve could try another round of quantitative easing, but the first two rounds did not really do that much to help. The truth is that the United States is absolutely drowning in debt, and when that debt bubble finally bursts the Federal Reserve is simply not going to be able to save us from the Great Depression that will happen as a result.
At this point, Bernanke appears to be in “cya” mode.
Read from Bernanke’s prepared remarks here.