Though the financial crisis seems to be history and the economy is stable, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday that considerably more recovery is needed.
“Our nation has endured a deep recession that in turn was triggered by the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression,” he said in remarks prepared for the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments.
“Today, the financial crisis appears to be mostly behind us and the economy seems to have stabilized and is expanding again,” Bernanke said. “But we have a considerable way to go to achieve a full recovery in our economy, and many Americans are still grappling with unemployment, foreclosure, and lost savings.”
Falling tax revenues have battered state and local budgets and many government entities face difficulties in maintaining essential services, he said. They have significantly cut programs and work forces.
“These cuts have imposed hardships in local jurisdictions around the country and are also part of the reason for the sluggishness of the national recovery,” the Fed chief said.
Bernanke advocated reserve or rainy-day funds for states, the budgets of which are vulnerable to business-cycle downturns.
He also suggested capital budgets could be used to spur the economy, but warned: “Voters and policymakers may understandably be reluctant to approve new bond issues and take on additional costs for debt payments in a period of fiscal and economic stress.”