Transcript: Diane Sawyer Sits Down with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke


DIANE SAWYER: What is the measure-- what is the trigger that make you say we have to change our plans? Would it be-- what kind of inflation concern?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well, we have to look both at growth and inflation. And both sides are our responsibility, our mandate to look at both sides. And we look at both sides. It's a committee decision. We have-- 17 people around the table, we meet eight times a year, we talk about the economy. We try to assess whether the economy is making sufficient progress, whether inflation is under control and what our tools are, w-- are they effective? So it's not something I can give, you know, sort of a precise-- set of-- indicators or precise set of conditions. It's something that we're gonna have to keep thinking about and evaluating as we go forward.

DIANE SAWYER: Unemployment. You said three years ago that you th-- in two-- in 2010 you said you thought it'd be four to five years before we saw normal employment in this country, normal unemployment number in this country, so that would take us to another three years?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well, it still could be a few more years. We're at 8.3-- before the—recession, normal was probably between 5 and 6%, which is-- a healthier level of unemployment. Depending on how fast the economy grows we could move towards that more quickly or more slowly. But-- unless we get faster growth than we've been seeing it is probably gonna take a while still.

DIANE SAWYER: So another three years or five years?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: It could be-- it could be a few more years, but remember we're making progress the whole time. And so things are getting better and-- that's at least-- moving in the right direction.

DIANE SAWYER: So are you sticking with the three years?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well-- you know, we can make guesses--

DIANE SAWYER: Or have you revised it to a little more optimism?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: --we can make guesses. No, I-- I think we're still sort of in that general vicinity. But it's very imprecise. I don't want to convey the sense that we know exactly when-- things will be back to-- completely to normal.

DIANE SAWYER: Do you hold up real hope that by the end of this year we'll be below 8%?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well, our forecasts are that-- we'll be close to 8%, something like that. But that depends very much on how fast the economy grows. If it continues to grow at-- at a moderate rate-- sort of-- 2-2.5%-- then we might not make much more progress this year. If it picks up, which is a possibility-- we could do better. Obviously we hope-- to make more progress. But-- you know, we're not-- again as I said before we're-- we're cautious.

DIANE SAWYER: Another quantitative easing on the table, always possible?

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well, we don't take any options off the table. We don't know what's gonna happen in the future and we have to be prepared to respond to however the economy evolves. But again we have 17 people around the table. We look at the economy-- comprehensively and-- and review it-- at every meeting and we try to assess, you know, how much progress we're making and what else we can do that will help us achieve both the growth we want, the reduction in unemployment we want, but also maintain the price stability, the low inflation which is the other part of our mandate.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...