ABC news released a video on its site of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, aired on Tuesday. Aside from the light moments of the conversation with the veteran journalist of 60-Minutes fame, Bernanke appeared obviously strained, tired and defeated in response to Sawyer’s pointed questions regarding U.S. jobs, the economy and inflation.
A look at the written transcript of the interview reveals nothing newsworthy from Bernanke. However, after watching the Q&A, the viewer should come away with a sense that Bernanke knows he’s lost control—a sense that market forces and politics have become too strong at this juncture of the Kondratiev cycle to avert a catastrophe. He also knows he’s lost credibility with the international financial community. Sign-up for my 100% FREE Alerts
Watch the Diane Sawyer interview, then contrast Bernanke’s tenor with his demeanor during his Dec. 6, 2010 interview on CBS News 60-Minutes, when he assured the world of his ability to halt inflation within 15 minutes if inflation appeared to run out of control.
Notice in the Dec. 6 interview the power and confidence in his voice and posture as he confronts the question regarding the future risks to inflation from the $600 billion “quantitative easing” program embarked upon by the Fed’s QEI program in 2010.
In contrast, in his March 2012 interview, there’s an obvious lack of any noticeable confidence to any statement he makes about key points of the financial crisis, jobs or inflation.
The most telling part to Bernanke’s presentation during the ABC News appearance came late in the interview, when he was reminded by Sawyer of the statement he made on the Dec. 6 interview with 60-minutes regarding his ability to stop inflation as a result of the Fed’s expanding balance sheet.
DIANE SAWYER: You said at one point in an– in 60 Minutes interview awhile back that you felt you could control it 100%. [emphasis added]
BEN BERNANKE: No, I didn’t say that. What I– the question was– did we have confidence in the tools that we have to unwind the large balance sheet increases for example that we’ve done. And– and I– I do have 100% confidence that when the time comes to unwind– the actions we’ve taken– that we would be able to do that.
Yes, he did say that! And he said it forcibly and in a manner intended to instill confidence with the public in the Fed’s ability to control consumer prices as a potential consequence of its ‘quantitative easing’ program.
Bernanke responds to journalist Scott Pelley during the Dec. 2010 on 60-Minutes:
SCOTT PELLEY: Can you act quickly enough to prevent inflation from getting out of control?
BEN BERNANKE: We can raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we have to . . .
SCOTT PELLEY: You have what degree of confidence in your ability to control this?
BEN BERNANKE: 100%
Maybe Bernanke isn’t so sure, after all.
Back to Sawyer. When asked if he would accept another term as Fed Chairman, Bernanke appeared somewhat flatfooted. He came across as if to say, “I want out. I’m tired, and this thing isn’t working.”
DIANE SAWYER: So if– a president, whoever it is in 2014 asks you to stay–
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Well–
DIANE SAWYER:—would you think about it?
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: –I’ll– I’ll– I’ll think about anything, but– basically– it’s just– too hypothetical at this point. Sign-up for my 100% FREE Alerts