Speaking today to the Economic Club of Indiana, Bernanke stressed that the Fed's pledge to keep rates low until mid-2015 was not a forecast of a weak economy over the next three years. Instead, the message is "as long as price stability is preserved, we will take care not to raise rates prematurely," he said.
Bernanke also said he is not expecting a recession and that the central Fed's actions are in response to concerns that growth will continue at a pace that is insufficient to generate employment.
Bernanke addressed the low interest rates that are hurting savers. While the Fed is aware that savers are hurt by current low rates, the central bank has to try to get the economy on a stronger footing, and added that the crisis has lowered interest rates around the world.
Bernanke also called for fiscal authorities to raise the debt ceiling, but also put fiscal policy on a sustainable path and avoid interference in monetary policy. He suggested "putting the federal budget on a sustainable path, reforming the tax code, improving our educational system, supporting technological innovation, and expanding international trade."