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Why doesn’t this feel like a recovery? As Bernanke talks, we take a long view on the American economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

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Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made history this morning when he gave the first press conference by a sitting chairman to announce the end of the latest round of cash stimulus by the Federal Reserve and that interest rates will stay close to 0% for a bit longer. On the overall state of the economy the Federal Reserve found that “the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace and overall conditions in the labor market are improving gradually,” which sounds like the equivalent of 0-0 tie score in a soccer game: no winners, no losers and kind of unsatisfying. Bernanke’s press conference is a good opportunity to take a broader view of the past four years that has proven to be one of the strangest economic periods in American history. Staggering out of the housing market collapse and the financial crisis into a “moderate” economic recovery, things still don’t feel right for the average American worker with stubborn unemployment and the prospects of a government austerity program that will probably cut social services. Does this feel like a recovery to you?


Roben Farzad, senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek