Americans’ finances have improved and the outlook for home sales is brighter! I don’t normally repost, but this is good information:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted a stronger year for the U.S. economy in 2014, saying several factors that have held back growth appear to be abating.
Americans’ finances have improved and the outlook for home sales is brighter, Bernanke said. He also expects less drag from federal spending cuts and tax increases.
The combination “bodes well for U.S. economic growth in coming quarters,” Bernanke said during a speech to the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia.
Bernanke also used his speech to make some pointed remarks at Congress. He said “excessively tight” budget policies had been counterproductive.
“With fiscal and monetary policy working in opposite directions, the recovery is weaker than it otherwise would be,” Bernanke said.
Bernanke also defended the central bank against critics who say the Fed’s massive bond purchases have had little effect on jumpstarting the recovery.
“Economic growth might well have been considerably weaker, or even negative, without substantial monetary policy support,” Bernanke said. He noted economic research that supported the benefits of the Fed’s bond purchases.
In response to an audience question, Bernanke criticized legislation pending in Congress that would allow the Government Accountability Office to expand its audits of the Fed to look at decisions on interest rates. The GAO, the auditing arm of Congress, can currently conduct audits of the Fed. But it is prohibited from investigating its interest rate decisions.
Bernanke said passage of this legislation would be a bad idea because it would harm the Fed’s independence. He said such independence is necessary to assure markets that the Fed is not being swayed by political interests.