Sunday, March 10, 2019

"60 Minutes" on 10 March 2019 with Jerome Powell; and was Ben Bernanke right about what Lincoln said??

Within the "60 Minutes" interview with Jerome Powell on 10 March 2019, there was a quote of Lincoln by Ben Bernanke, described by CBS in the following way:

The "60 Minutes" interview also reunited Powell with his predecessors at the Fed,
former chairs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke. Both withstood withering criticism
during their stints at the helm of the nation's central bank.

Asked by Pelley for their advice for Powell, Yellen said, "To be inclusive in decision-making,
to bring many voices to the table, to listen carefully."

Bernanke cited a quotation on his desk from Abraham Lincoln: "To the effect that,
'If you're right, it won't matter what they say. If you're wrong, it won't matter what they say.'
So the best thing to do is to make what you believe is the right call."

[Link: ]

The quote mentioned by Bernanke is closer to words of Richard Nixon speaking on the war in Vietnam on November 3, 1969:

“If it does succeed, what the critics say now won’t matter If it does not succeed, anything I say then won’t matter.”

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, p. 909.

The relevant text of Lincoln

I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end.
If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything.
If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

President ABRAHAM LINCOLN.—Francis Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, pp. 258–59 (1867).

Neither Lincoln nor Nixon said that if he were wrong, what the critics said would not matter, as
asserted by Bernanke [If you're wrong, it won't matter what they say.] Both Lincoln and Nixon were
speaking of the inadequacy of defenses to a wrong decision.

The interview of Powell was of interest. There had been a "teaser" ad by Pelley of what kept Powell up
at night. No, it turned out "not" to be Trump. From the interview:

PELLEY: How concerned are you about either criminals or more importantly hostile nations attacking
our banking system through the computer system?

POWELL: So cyber risk is a major focus. Perhaps the major focus in terms of big risks.
I think the kinds of risks that happened to us in the financial crisis, we've worked hard
to build up resilience against those. Cyber risk is a constantly evolving risk.
We devote very large amounts of time and resources to protect the Fed, but also
to protect financial institutions and the financial markets. And private corporations do the same thing.
The banks we supervise are required to have plans in place and state of the art, you know, technology and the like.
I would say for cyber risk though I've never felt a time when I think we're doing enough.
We just have to keep running hard to keep up with the risk.

PELLEY: I have the sense that I just hit on the thing that keeps you up at night.

POWELL: I would say of the risks that we face, that certainly is the largest one.

The matter of labor participation/discouraged workers arose:

POWELL: But we have longer run issues. And it would be important for us as a nation to address these issues.
In particular, you're not counted as unemployed if you haven't looked for a job in the last four weeks.
And we have an unusually large number of people in their prime working years who are not in the labor force.
The United States has a lower labor force participation rate than almost every other advanced country.
That is not our self-image as a country. It's very important that we bring people back into the labor force
so that they can contribute to our shared prosperity and reap the benefits of doing so.
The economy will be stronger and the country will be stronger if we can do that.
Not all of the tools to accomplish that are the Fed's. Many of them are in the hands of Congress.

PELLEY: Where did these people go who are no longer looking for work?

POWELL: They went a lot of places. Many of them are discouraged from finding work.
There are a range of causes, really. And part of it is evolving technology.
So as technology evolves, it requires rising skills on the part of the people.
U.S. educational attainment has not moved up as rapidly as it has in other countries.
Globalization's also a factor. For many advanced economies, manufacturing, to some extent,
has moved into developing countries. And so the manufacturing employment and the manufacturing base is smaller than it was.
So for whatever reason, and the opioid crisis is related to, I think,
to those other factors. There are just are quite a few people who are out of the labor force,
particularly young males, who would be better off in the labor force, and the country would be better off for it as well.

Powell brought up training:

POWELL: That no one is talking about? I would point to our longer-run challenges.
So, the U.S. economy right now is in a pretty good place. Unemployment is at a 50-year low.
Inflation is close to its target. We are growing at a reasonable rate. But we face longer-run challenges.
And I would like to see a stronger national focus on, for example, labor force participation.
There are plenty of prime-aged people who are not in the labor force and who would be better off in the labor force.
And I'd like to see us find policies that can support and reward work, provide training and education, and generally try to raise U.S. labor force participation so that we're no longer at the bottom of the league table among advanced economies. I think that's a win-win. That gives us faster growth. It gives us more widespread prosperity. These people can contribute to our shared prosperity, and they can also benefit from doing so.

HOWEVER, there are plenty of trained U.S. workers who are displaced by "trained" foreign workers who
will work for less money.

See 2012 post on IPBiz Startup Act 2.0: are you turning up your nose at $150K/year jobs?


IAM on IBM's Kappos, not touching the political or patent pulse?

A NBC Nightly News story on 3 April 09 discussed how an IBM Fishkill employee [Frederic (Rick) Clark]
was offered the opportunity to keep his job, in India at the prevailing salary in India [20 to 25% of US].

60 Minutes Powell transcript

This "complete" transcript does NOT include the Bernanke text.


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