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Bernanke Voices Optimism on Pace of Economic Recovery

Wall Street Journal (01/03/14) Victoria McGrane; Pedro Nicolaci da Costa

On Jan. 3, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said U.S. economic recovery should gain ground in 2014, as several factors slowing the expansion have waned, including the housing bust and the European debt crisis. In his last major address before he steps down from the role of central bank chairman, Bernanke said the improving job market prompted the Fed to ease its bond-buying program.

However, he noted that government spending cuts and tax hikes have put a damper on the central bank’s efforts to bolster spending, investment, and hiring. “With fiscal and monetary policy working in opposite directions,” he remarked, “the recovery is weaker than it otherwise would be.”