Bernanke: Recession Will End in 2009

How soon will the recession end? It seems like every day another pundit or politician issues a new decree, but when the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke makes a prediction, everybody listens. Bernanke granted a rare interview to CBS News' 60 Minutes on Sunday night. Though the financial system is still "in crisis," Bernanke said, "I do think that we will get it stabilized, and we'll see the recession coming to an end, probably this year. We'll see recovery beginning next year, and it'll pick up steam over time." But is Bernanke's optimism just another Clintonian twist of rhetoric? Bernanke defines the end of the recession as "a leveling off. We won't be back to full employment, but we will see, I hope, the end of these declines that have been so strong these last couple quarters." Bernanke gave 60 Minutes a rare tour of the Fed Res headquarters and explained some of the organization's more controversial choices, including letting Lehman Brothers fail. In the next few months, Bernanke said, America will weather more job loss, but we aren’t headed for another Great Depression: "I think we've averted that risk. I think we’ve gotten past that.”