When I heard that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week that it was too soon for the Fed to end its extraordinary stimulus programs, I did a double take.
“What stimulus programs?” I thought. Where are the jobs programs? Where are the “extraordinary” social services that will enable those still suffering from the effects of the Great Recession to buy more and stimulate the economy?
What escaped my attention for a moment was the fact that these words were uttered by an official steeped in the jargon of high finance and political policy — where words like “stimulus” are treated to Orwellian twists, their meaning transformed into something very different from what most people understand them to mean.
What Bernanke meant by “stimulus” was not programs that economically strengthen the 99%. He was referring to policies that keep interest rates low, including what is known as Quantitative Easing (QE).