U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke said Tuesday that financial education helps boost the U.S.
economy but monetary policy can't solve all economic problems.
"Financial education supports not only individual well-being, but also the economic health of our nation," Bernanke said in a speech for a town hall meeting with educators gathered in the Fed office.
"As the recent financial crisis illustrates, consumers who can make informed decisions about financial products and services not only serve their own best interests, but, collectively, they also help promote broader economic stability," he added.
The central bank chief touched little upon future monetary policy moves of the Fed, but noted the Fed's policy independence and limitations in response to questions.
Bernanke said an independent central bank could make monetary policy and other decisions without being influenced by short-term political pressures. "It is very important to have that degree of independence."
He said the Fed is nonpartisan and makes decisions based on technical analysis, but not political considerations. A lot of provisions, such as the terms for Fed officials and chairman, give the Fed independence in decision making.
Bernanke reiterated that monetary policy is not a panacea and there are many issues which could be more properly dealt with by fiscal authorities through tax policies and spending decisions.
Long-term issues, like providing strong educational system and good tax code are responsibilities of a wide variety of policymakers, said Bernanke, a former Princeton University professor.
He also defended the Fed's decision of keeping the benchmark interest rates at record low for more than 3 years, saying that the U.S. economy is in "fragile recovery," and the low interest rates would help economy to recover and employment to restore to more normal levels.
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