Statement on Today's Deficit Numbers and the Bernanke Reappointment

Below, please find my comments today on the reappointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the new OMB report estimating that the deficit will reach $9 trillion over the next decade.

On the new OMB estimates:

The new numbers today from the Office of Management and Budget remind us that short term and long term deficit projections are very uncertain. What is equally certain is that the economy needs stimulus today, whatever the short term cost to the deficit, as well as sharp reductions in long term deficits. Those long-term reductions have to form the basis for the other reforms in health care, energy, education and training which our economy and nation need. Addressing both of these tasks remains the administration’s most important domestic challenge.

On Chairman Bernanke's reappointment:

Chairman Bernanke did not see this crisis coming, but he steered the economy well once it arrived. The country still needs his wisdom, because this crisis is not over. Our large financial institutions remain fragile, as they continue to hold most of the toxic assets which brought down other financial giants. The economy remains vulnerable to additional shocks from the financial system, including the deteriorating commercial real estate markets. Foreclosures continue to rise, which in turn drain more of the value of the mortgage-backed securities still held by financial institutions. The only reason we haven’t seen greater effects is that we suspended their mark to market accounting. But underneath the bookkeeping, these problems remain serious. All of this portends a very challenging economic environment and the prospect of a difficult recovery. The President was right to opt for continuity in the face of this large and critical agenda, which we hope Chairman Bernanke will help resolve.