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March 16th, 2009
08:01 AM ET

Minding Your Business

 CNN Business Correspondent Christine Romans is Minding Your Business everyday here on amFIX

CNN Business Correspondent Christine Romans is Minding Your Business everyday here on amFIX

Somehow over the past week, we've taken the edge off the desperation in the markets and economy.

Let me be clear: there is a lot of work to do and many difficult months ahead. I'm not ready to say confidence has returned, but certainly the gloom is not so thick.

Why? A more unified message is emerging (either by accident or by design) that yes, there IS a road to recovery and yes, we are trying to get on it.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, sat down with 60 Minutes because, he said, he wanted to speak directly to the American people. His message? The Fed is doing everything possible to support the economy. A recovery doesn't happen until the banks are stabilized. There is a plan for that but it will take time and patience.

"I'd just like to say to the American people is that I have every confidence that this economy will recover, and recover in a strong and sustained way," he said.

An interview with a sitting Fed chief is unprecedented. Why did he do it? He said these are “extraordinary” times and he wanted to speak directly to the American people.

Bernanke said a recovery could begin to gel late this year and into next year. Again, IF we get the financial system stabilized. He made a promise not to repeat the mistakes that led to the Great Depression - namely, letting the banks fail. He pledged to support the banking system and "wind down" failing banks in a responsible way. (For all those of you out there screaming about dumping money into the very banks that made these bad bets and put the global economy at risk – the administration and the Fed are clear that they will not let a big bank go down. Period.)

In less than a week, the Treasury Secretary sat down with Charlie Rose, there were appearances by advisers Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, and Christina Romer. The G20 finance ministers vowed this weekend to do "whatever it takes" to fix the financial system and put the global economy on the road to recovery.

What we really need now - the specifics on the Obama administration's plan to mop the toxic assets off the banks books. Still waiting for that critical piece of the story.


Filed under: Economy • Minding Your Business • Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Dirk

    Mrs. Romans,

    First: Nice cheekbones! Very Italian

    My comment is a question. I'm 47 and have worked for the Federal Government for almost 24 years and I'm in the Thrift Savings Plan or TSP; which is similiar to a 401k. I have at least 13 years until I can retire; am I crazy to be buying 100% stock right now? I contribute the max allowed by the IRS ($16,500.00) which is $634.00 per pay period. I'm letting it ride, what is your opinion? Hoping for a BMW at 60. Dirk

    March 17, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  2. steve halpern

    I have a $200,000 home and owe $140,000 and am current on my payments but I lost my job last week and have no income or saving except for my 401k. Is there any help for me under the new stimilus package?

    March 17, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  3. DaddyODawg

    For those AIG folks that are missusing my tax money, there should be a law requiring them to pay it back... The bail out was not intended for paying bunuses... contract or not... If I had messed up the way they did, I'd be fired, not given a bonus... All the top execs at AIG should go to Jail for a bit... and then made to live like we regular people do for at least a year... that will teach them a lesson... Thanks

    March 17, 2009 at 7:46 am |