Jon Stewart Busts Fed Chair Ben Bernanke On 'Printing Money'

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so busted.

Comedy Central host Jon Stewart added his voice to others who caught the central banker contradicting himself over whether or not the Fed is "printing money" through its actions to bolster the economy.

On 60 Minutes this week, when asked by reporter Scott Pelley about the Fed's $600 billion purchase of Treasury bonds that is meant to lower interest rates further, the Fed chair said:

BERNANKE: Well, this fear of inflation, I think is way overstated. We've looked at it very, very carefully. We've analyzed it every which way. One myth that's out there is that what we're doing is printing money. We're not printing money. The amount of currency in circulation is not changing. The money supply is not changing in any significant way. ...

Twenty-one months earlier on the same program and to the same reporter, Bernanke said something quite different:

Asked if it's tax money the Fed is spending, Bernanke said, "It's not tax money. The banks have accounts with the Fed, much the same way that you have an account in a commercial bank. So, to lend to a bank, we simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account that they have with the Fed. It's much more akin to printing money than it is to borrowing."

"You've been printing money?" Pelley asked.

"Well, effectively," Bernanke said. "And we need to do that, because our economy is very weak and inflation is very low. When the economy begins to recover, that will be the time that we need to unwind those programs, raise interest rates, reduce the money supply, and make sure that we have a recovery that does not involve inflation."

It appears Bernanke won't have to look far to figure out how this myth got legs.

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