Jeremy Hobson: Unemployment here in the U.S. is a national crisis and Congress needs to do more about it. That’s the message from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who gave a speech last night in Cleveland. Bernanke also said the U.S. needs to learn from the emerging world — countries like Brazil, Russia, China and others — countries that are growing much faster than we are economically.
Our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore is with us live with more on what Bernanke had to say. Good morning.
Heidi Moore: Good morning.
Hobson: So what does he think we can learn from these emerging economies?
Moore: He praised them, and he said that they have their priorities in the right place — they keep their debt low, they invest money in education and infrastructure. They regulate their financial systems, so they have investment but also outside money as well. These economies have been growing faster than the U.S., so they’ve been drawing a lot of investment. In fact, if you look at your 401k, you’re probably invested a little in Thailand or Brazil or other emerging economies, because that’s been a trend.
But what Bernanke’s speech really reflects the frustration a lot of people feel about where America is going. We used to be this scrappy little start-up with decades of growth ahead of us. Now we’re the biggest economy in the world, we’re slowing down, and we’re doing some soul-searching about why. He has wanted Congress to chip in with some real stimulus for years.
Hobson: But it is sort of interesting to say to a big developed economy like us, “We need to be learning from one of these emerging economies.” Did he have any advice for them?
Moore: Yeah, he had one interesting line where he said that emerging economies “can no longer view themselves as small, open economies whose actions have little effect on their neighbors.” It’s actually quite the opposite.
Last week, a group of emerging countries — Brazil, China, Russia, South Africa — started talking about buying European bonds to help get Europe out of its crisis. So, they’re not insular — if anything, these countries are all too good at thinking globally.
Hobson: Marketplace’s New York Bureau Chief Heidi Moore, thanks.
Moore: Thank you, Jeremy.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.