Bernanke less-than subtle message to Congress

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke to reporters after the Fed’s policy meeting this afternoon, and shared some important thoughts on job-creation efforts.

“With respect to the current economy we are currently continuing our accommodative monetary policy. We are trying to do our best to support economic growth and job creation. It would be helpful if we could get assistance from some other parts of the government to work with us to help create more jobs.” [emphasis added]

From time to time, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that Bernanke, despite being a conservative Republican first appointed by George W. Bush, has been increasingly audacious on this front, telling GOP lawmakers what they don’t want to hear.

In October, the Fed chairman urged Congress to focus on job creation, embracing government spending policies that “support growth.” In September, Bernanke pleaded with Republicans not to cut spending in ways that that would hurt economic growth

In August, Bernanke not-so-subtly urged Congress to adopt a short-term stimulus to give the economy a boost. In July, the Fed chairman told Congress that “sharp and excessive cuts in the very short term would be potentially damaging to that recovery.”

And now he’s making the case that “some other parts of the government” — psst, Congress, I think he’s talking to you — need to try to create more jobs.

Republicans, of course, not only choose to ignore Bernanke’s advice, they’ve come to perceive his suggestions in the same light as advice from the CBO, economists, the financial industry, the bond market, business leaders, and economic textbooks — pesky reality that stands in conflict with far-right ideology, and must therefore be rejected.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.