But this isn’t a problem that only the Fed can -- or should -- solve. As Bernanke has said, monetary policy can only do so much to break the stubborn logjam preventing consumers from spending and businesses from investing and hiring. Look no further than Thursday’s collective market shrug after three central banks in Europe and China took uncoordinated steps to stimulate borrowing and spending.
At some point, elected officials in both parties are going to have to take steps to get the economy growing faster. What’s needed has been clear for a long time: Resolve the uncertainty about expiring tax breaks and looming spending cuts; create short-term fiscal stimulus; and outline a more sustainable long- term fiscal path.