Bernanke, in Minneapolis, is mum on possible Fed actions

AFTERNOON EDITION

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the guy who at least two of the GOP presidential candidates said they’d fire on Day One, was in Minneapolis today for a speech. The AP story says: “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said he’s surprised by how cautious consumers have been in the two years since the recession officially ended. But the Fed chief offered no hints of any steps the Fed would take to boost the weak economy. Bernanke said Thursday that a number of factors are keeping consumers from spending more, including high unemployment, a temporary spike in energy prices, falling home prices and high debt burdens. ‘Even taking into account the many financial pressures they face, households seem exceptionally cautious,’ Bernanke said.”

The Financial Times’ Robin Harding writes: “Bernanke continued to avoid any discussion of specific options for the Fed and sounded a note of caution on the difficulties facing policymakers. In a speech that closely followed the one he delivered at Jackson Hole two weeks ago, Mr Bernanke also declined a final chance to send a stronger signal on policy ahead of the Fed’s next meeting over two days starting September 20. His comments offer little encouragement to those demanding drastic moves to deal with a stalling economy, such as a new round of quantitative easing or acceptance of higher inflation in the short term. The Fed chairman said the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee “expects a moderate recovery to continue and indeed to strengthen over time,” but that it has cut its growth forecasts. He said inflation should drop back to a rate at or below the Fed’s 2 per cent objective.”

From Reuters, David Bailey says, “The Fed chairman warned that overzealous belt-tightening by the U.S. government in the near term could also slow down the ‘erratic’ recovery. ‘Substantial fiscal consolidation in the shorter term could add to the headings facing economic growth and hiring,’ he said.” No wonder he was so unpopular at the Reagan Library last night.

The corner offices are vacating, but everyone else will be staying put. Steve Alexander of the Strib reports: “Alliant Techsystems of Eden Prairie is moving its headquarters to Arlington, Va., Oct. 1, but says only about a dozen top executives will relocate, leaving the bulk of its 2,700 Minnesota employee base intact. Alliant, often known by its stock symbol ATK, makes products from military weapons to law enforcement gear to scientific satellites. It has 18,000 employees in 22 states, and ranked 17th in revenue in the latest Star Tribune 100 list of public companies. Last year ATK earned $313.2 million on revenue of $4.8 billion. ATK was spun off from Honeywell, then based in Minneapolis, in 1990.”

Ok, this is pleasant news … except for the part that means we’re moving closer toward … winter … again … already. Says Dennis Anderson at the Strib: “This autumn, the Department of Natural Resources says, [autumn] hues may shine brighter than they have in many years. ‘With adequate rain during the growing season for two consecutive years and recent weather patterns that have included the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, we’re predicting an especially vivid display of color across the state in the weeks ahead,’ said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist. … According to the DNR, colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of the state, between late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, including the metro.”

She may have been marginalized in the GOP debate last night, but Our Favorite Congresswoman is going to try and grab back some spotlight tonight. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Bachmann, trying to reinsert herself into the national discussion on jobs, plans a Capitol Hill news conference immediately after President Barack Obama’s jobs speech Thursday  night before a joint session of Congress. Ms. Bachmann’s position in the GOP nomination contest has slipped since Texas Gov. Rick Perry surged. The Minnesota Republican has lagged in public opinion surveys since winning the Iowa Straw Poll in mid-August and received few questions at Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate in California. The congresswoman’s congressional spokeswoman said the press conference is to discuss her reaction to Mr. Obama’s speech and is not a campaign event. Ms. Bachmann reserved the space on Capitol Hill as a member of Congress, her spokeswoman said.” But it is not … a campaign event.

David Weigel of Slate live-blogged the debate. At one point, he says:
“8:23: Like I said, I’m watching this from a bar full of Obama supporters. There are some candidates who reduce them to silence, and some whom they talk over. There is dead silence for Perry, mostly silence for Romney, the same level of din for Bachmann, and chatter over everyone else.
8:25: Bachmann wrestles and defeats a total strawman — who thinks that any of these candidates would simply issue an executive order and call it a day, instead of pushing for PPACA repeal legislation? Her promise to elect 13 Republican senators is needlessly over the top, because a strong argument can be made that most of the bill, which was passed by reconciliation, can be repealed by reconciliation. …
9:14: Bachmann’s habit of leaning on campaign trail anecdotes gets a little strange. Her visit with Cubans at the Bay of Pigs museum tells her… what, exactly, about what an entirely different community of Hispanic voters think about immigration?”
He also gives out his debate grades:”Michele Bachmann: B- … Hate to agree with the conventional wisdom, but unless something torpedoes Perry, she’s no longer a factor in the race. The mannered efforts to pretend that some congressional battles have given her all the experience she needs to serve are just unbearably weak with three governors onstage.” Well … he is obviously just another sexist liberal.

Another shot at live-blogging the debate — and a brilliant shot at that, I must say — comes from The Same Rowdy Crowd site:7:35 Michele’s $2 gas promise is not playing too well. But, boy does she have big numbers. I think I have this right. If we set fire to the EPA we would create 1.2 million new jobs, increase energy productions by 50%, and goose the economy by $800 billion. I’m not sure if this also involves turning North Dakota into a sludge pond and burning the homes of 5th District liberals for heating fuel. But if I’m a Tea Partier living on Social Security and Medicare I love the thought of getting the government off my back.”

Erick Erickson of the Red State (conservative) blog, writes: “Second, it is clear Perry is the front runner given the pile on from the other candidates. It was not just pushed by MBNBC and the Politico. The other candidates took willful potshots against Rick Perry. Perry, despite some stumbles and the pile on by the moderators and other participants, held his own and will only get stronger the more of these he does. And if he doesn’t? Goodbye frontrunner status. Third, Michele Bachmann’s star has faded. The recognition of this is the reporter focus on Perry v. Romney buttressed by Bachmann’s own outgoing campaign manager, Ed Rollins, that the race was a two man race between Perry and Romney. Fourth, Newt Gingrich. What an intellect. What a mind. What a debater. What might have been.” The scary thing is I think he actually means the stuff about Gingrich.

And you have to check in with John Hinderaker at Power Line after a big night like that. Says John: “I will offer just a few observations:
1) I don’t understand why Republican candidates agree to be questioned more or less exclusively by Democrats. We saw all the usual biases in the questions — doesn’t your heart bleed for 11 million illegal immigrants, how can you sleep at night when your state has capital punishment, if the world isn’t perfect doesn’t that prove we need more government? Sometimes the candidates responded well, but it is a form of political suicide to constantly cede the terms of the debate to your opponents.
2) For some reason, most of the candidates didn’t seem on form tonight. But the most disappointing had to be Rick Perry. I’m not talking about his early exchanges with Mitt Romney about jobs, which I missed. I attribute zero importance to that argument. For governors to take credit for creating jobs is more or less like Obama taking credit for killing bin Laden. That doesn’t mean their records are irrelevant, obviously, but rather that they need to be viewed with a minimal degree of understanding and sophistication.” Because then … you’ll see that they had nothing to do with it?

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 09/08/2011 - 04:23 pm.

    Earth calling Ben–what are you smoking? Being unemployed or underemployed, CONSUMERS DO NOT HAVE THE INCOME to increase consumer spending. And because of the financial crisis, they do not have access to the credit to charge their consumer spending. The American economy is primarily based on consumer spending–if you want it to improve, you need to get more money(i.e. salary)in the hands of consumers. It’s not caution, it’s plain old lack of funds.

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