Ben Bets New Economy is the Same as the Old

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is betting the new U.S. economy is the same as the old one as he lays out arguments for more stimulus to revive it.

He made that diagnosis last week in a rebuttal to those who blame an 8.3 percent unemployment rate on structural shifts in the economy wrought by the financial crisis and who contend joblessness is permanently elevated.

“I see little evidence of substantial structural change in recent years,” Bernanke told fellow central bankers and economists at the annual monetary-policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Following every previous U.S. recession since World War II, the unemployment rate has returned close to its pre-recession level.”

The message for investors is Bernanke believes what he calls the “grave concern” of 12.8 million Americans out of work can be tackled by a stronger economic recovery, driven by monetary support if necessary. The view that the country’s woes are cyclical was a keen subject of debate in the shadow of the Teton mountains, dividing Bernanke’s fellow central bankers, Wall Street economists and academics.

Backing Bernanke are Princeton University’s Alan Blinder, Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Stanford University’s Edward Lazear. On the other side are Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon and Mohamed El-Erian and Bill Gross of Pacific Investment Management Co., who popularized the term “new normal” to describe how growth patterns changed after the worst recession since the Great Depression.


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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell