Bernanke’s Green Shoots for Boston College Law Grads …
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave the commencement address today to the Boston College School of Law’s graduating class. His speech centered on the inherent unpredictability in people’s lives and his perspective on how to deal with that. The business press was dismissed for coffee and Bernanke gave a personal speech.
There was no news to move the markets, but there was a personal sentiment on Bernanke’s own enduring confidence in the U.S. economy and his foreshadowing on some of the great challenges to be faced by the class of 2009:
You are lucky also to be living and studying in the United States. There is a lot of pessimistic talk now about the future of America’s economy and its role in the world. Such talk accompanies every period of economic weakness. The United States endured a decade-long Great Depression and returned to prosperity and global leadership. When I graduated from college in 1975, and from graduate school in 1979, the economy was sputtering, gas prices and inflation were high, and pessimism–malaise, President Carter called it–was rampant. The U.S. economy subsequently entered more than two decades of growth and prosperity. The economy will recover–it has too many fundamental strengths to be kept down for too long–and the mood will brighten.
This is not to ignore real challenges. Our society is aging, implying higher health-care costs and fiscal burdens. We need to save more as a country, to reduce global imbalances in saving and investment, and to set the stage for continued growth. Our educational system is strong in some areas, including our university system, but does not serve everyone equally well, contributing to slower growth and greater income disparities. In the diverse capacities for which your training has prepared you, many of you will play a vital role in addressing these problems, both in the public and private spheres.