Bernanke devoted half of his speech to discussion of the U.S. budget deficit.
“To achieve economic and financial stability, U.S. fiscal policy must be placed on a sustainable path that ensures that debt relative to national income is at least stable or, preferably, declining over time,” Bernanke said. “Achieving this goal should be a top priority.”
At the same time, Congress should “take care not to unnecessarily impede the current economic recovery,” Bernanke said.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this week it expects the budget deficit to narrow to $1.1 trillion this fiscal year from $1.3 trillion last year. The deficit would reach $1.5 trillion by 2022, CBO estimated, and the debt would rise to levels unseen since the government was paying off its World War II expenses.
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