Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's first press conference, just concluded, was a pretty sorry affair. None of the reporters really broke out of the box and asked about the Constitution or gold. They seemed mainly interested in what Mr. Bernanke was going to do and his forecast on the economy, not in whether he had the authority to do it or whether the enterprise he was engaged in was worthwhile to begin with. The most newsworthy part, I thought, came when, in response to a question from NPR on whether the second round of quantitative easing had been effective, Mr. Bernanke responded that the program was "successful" because "we saw increases in stock prices." Let any buyer of shares be warned — the price of what you own will depend on what Mr. Bernanke and his colleagues on the Fed Open Market Committee think the price should be.
The second most newsworthy part, I thought, came at the end, when Mr. Bernanke referred to "high unemployment," "high gas prices," and "high foreclosure rates" as "a terrible combination." If the economy hasn't improved substantially by next year's election, look for that clip to be part of a Republican attack ad blaming President Obama for all three.