Looking to Bernanke for an economic fix

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during the conference 'New Building Blocks for Jobs and Economic Growth' at Georgetown University.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.25 percent yesterday to 11,320. A lot of that rise has to do with anticipation of what Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke will say at a speech tomorrow in Jackson Hole, Wyo. This time last year, Bernanke unveiled a massive bond-buying program to stimulate the economy. What's in store this time?

David Gura takes a look.


David Gura: Markets have been up and down; there's fear we might be on the verge of another recession. Given all the Federal Reserve's done since the financial crisis, is there really anything more it can do?

David Malpass is with Encima Global.

David Malpass: I don't think there's much that the Fed can do now that would have an impact.

The Fed spent hundreds of billions of dollars buying bonds, hoping that would keep market rates low. Economists are saying more of that isn't likely.

Ann Owen teaches economics at Hamilton College. She says the Fed could trade its holdings in short-term Treasuries for long-term ones.

Ann Owen: The goal of that would be to lower long-term interest rates.

Meaning mortgage rates could go down even more. But David Malpass says it's time for Ben Bernanke to reassure the nation, to step out of his central banker shoes.

Malpass: He could talk about the importance of tax reform, the way companies actually get capital and can innovate.

In other words, Bernanke could talk about more than just interest rates.

In Washington, I'm David Gura for Marketplace.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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