chairman Ben S. Bernanke moved the Federal Reserve further into uncharted policy territory in combating joblessness by tying the bankās interest-rate outlook to unemployment and inflation, while committing to an even faster expansion of the central bankās balance sheet.
The actions on the eve of the Fedās centenary year underscore Bernankeās hallmark commitment to experimentation and forceful action, derived in part from his research showing too little monetary stimulus produced large economic costs for the U.S. in the 1930s and for Japan in the 1990s. He called the current state of the labor market, with unemployment at 7.7 percent, āan enormous waste of human and economic potentialā and said the benefits of more bond buying outweigh the potential risks.
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