WASHINGTON — Ben Bernanke sent a message Tuesday to Congress: The Federal Reserve’s low-interest-rate policies are giving crucial support to an economy still burdened by high unemployment.
The Fed chairman acknowledged the risks of keeping rates low indefinitely. But he expressed confidence that such risks pose little threat now.
Delivering the Fed’s semiannual monetary report to Congress, Bernanke sought to minimize concerns that the central bank’s easy-money policies might cause runaway inflation later or dangerous bubbles in assets like stocks. He sought to reassure sometimes-skeptical senators that the Fed is monitoring potential threats and can defuse them before they hurt the economy.