“My best guess is that we’ll have a continued recovery, but it won’t feel terrific,” Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, said at a dinner at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Monday night. “And the reason it won’t feel terrific is that it’s not going to be fast enough to put back eight million people who lost their jobs within a few years.”
One could almost envision the winces in the White House as Mr. Bernanke observed that the unemployment rate “will stay high for some time.” He went on to note that even if the economy grew at 3 percent, which would be considered a healthy pace, it would do little more than keep pace with the normal rate of growth of the work force.
Virtually every day of late, White House officials have struggled to explain how their strategies to provide economic stimulus to bring down the unemployment rate square with Mr. Obama’s oft-expressed commitment to tackle a record budget deficit. They talk about spending this year ”” in modest amounts ”” while waiting for the prescriptions of the president’s commission on debt reduction, which reports, conveniently, a few weeks after the midterm elections.