As usual, today's congressional hearing featuring Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke didn't disappoint when it comes to tortured metaphors for the U.S. economy.
Here's this gem, courtesy of Senator Dan Coats, a Republican from Indiana:
THE U.S. ECONOMY IS LIKE A HORSE, BUT WHERE THE HECK IS IT?
Chairman Bernanke, sometime earlier you and I had a conversation, and I asked you the question about why the United States was doing relatively better than its neighbors across the seas and others, and you said, 'Well, it's because we have the best-looking horse in the glue factory.'
I'm wondering where that horse is now. Is our horse still in the glue factory? Is he in the pasture just outside the glue factory or is he back on the farm?
To which, Bernanke responded: "We really have done better than some other countries for a variety of reasons" and "We are moving in the right direction."
Hey, at least the horse isn't in the Ikea meatballs, right?
THE ECONOMY SHOULD BE PLAYING BASEBALL WITH THE KIDS
The chairman of the committee, Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas, had this analogy:
It's frustrating. Here we are nearly four years after recession ended and this economy is in such a weak state, fragile state.
At this point, the patient ought to be out of the hospital, done with rehab and playing baseball with its kids. I feel like the economy is in the outpatient room and the Fed continues to feed it medicine on a daily basis, asking, 'Are you getting better?' But my worry is that the Fed doesn't have the prescription for what ails our economy.
Just be glad the fiscal cliff metaphors are over for a while.
Although the Fed has been juicing the economy since late 2008, it doesn't feel that way to many people on Main Street. That's because a key part of the process has broken down.
Tight credit and a large number of underwater homeowners means that many middle-class Americans simply haven't been able to benefit from the Fed's low interest rates.
Now that the housing recovery is underway, that could change, said Federal Reserve MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Apr 18, 2013 3:17 PM ET
Janet Yellen is the favorite pick for next Federal Reserve chair, should Ben Bernanke step down after his second term ends next January.
At least, that's according to the latest chatter among Fed watchers, including Neil Irwin at the Washington Post's Wonkblog and The Economist.
Of course, neither Yellen nor Bernanke have commented publicly on the matter.
In its 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has never been led by a woman, and worldwide, MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Apr 4, 2013 6:14 PM ET
Not everyone is thrilled with the Federal Reserve's loose purse strings over the past few years. With the economy now on the mend, many had hoped the massive spending sprees would finally start to wind down.
But that might not be the case. At least not yet.
Back at its September meeting, the Fed's policy making committee announced plans to launch QE3 -- a massive bond-buying program with an indefinite conclusion. As MOREKaren McGowan - Nov 14, 2012 3:53 PM ET
Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher is proud of the Texas economy and isn't afraid to let it show.
Known for colorful speeches that often include Lindsay Lohan, tequila or Washington Irving references, Fisher offered up this joke in a speech before the conservative Cato Institute Wednesday afternoon.
Here, he describes how Texas has succeeded in producing a "pro-business, pro-growth environment," versus a state like California, which he says has done just MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Oct 10, 2012 4:46 PM ET
A weak August jobs report signaled hiring continues to slog along at a snail's pace, giving the Federal Reserve even more reason to enact more stimulative measures -- possibly as soon as next week.
The economy added just 96,000 jobs in August. And even though the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July, any number above 8% is still uncomfortably high for the Fed. (Inflation, on the other hand, is MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Sep 7, 2012 10:21 AM ET
Martin Feldstein, an economics professor at Harvard, is an adviser to Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan.
We spoke with him at the Federal Reserve's economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., shortly after Ben Bernanke seemed to make a case for more stimulus from the central bank. Here's what Feldstein said were some of the potential risks:
The risk that MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Sep 3, 2012 7:45 AM ET
Rep. Ron Paul must be delighted. His pet project -- a bill to audit the Federal Reserve -- just passed the House and will move on to the Senate.
The bill's goal is not to be confused with a financial audit. Instead, it would open the Fed's decision making process up to a full investigation.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke called it a "nightmare scenario" in testimony last week, because he believes it MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Jul 25, 2012 3:55 PM ET
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book notes that more regions of the country have started slowing recently.
The report paints a picture of a "modest to moderate" recovery in June and early July, with better news coming from the housing market in particular. But one pocket of the country including the region surrounding New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio saw economic growth slow recently, the report said.
Previously, only the Philadelphia region had MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Jul 18, 2012 2:24 PM ET
The largest share of student loan deadbeats are celebrating their 25th college reunions.
Borrowers age 40-49 have the highest proportion of loans that are at least 90 days behind, according to new data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And that's been true each quarter since 2005.
Here's a profile of who holds student loans as of the first quarter of 2012:
There are 14 million more student loan borrowers MORETami Luhby - Jul 17, 2012 4:55 PM ET
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it plans to extend "Operation Twist," a bond-swapping strategy designed to keep interest rates low in the future, thereby providing a measure of stimulus to the struggling economy.
Originally scheduled to end later this month, the program -- which swaps short-term bonds for ones with longer duration -- will now run through the end of the year.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to provide more MORECharles Riley - Jun 20, 2012 1:43 PM ET
In a report on its 12 regional districts known as the "Beige Book," the Federal Reserve said that "overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace." That's not particularly great news. The "moderate pace" thing is the same line we've been hearing for months now.
"Moderate" is actually one of the better scenarios in recent Fed parlance. Economic improvements have been a mixed bag of "moderates," "modests," and "steadys" for some MOREKaren McGowan - Jun 6, 2012 4:39 PM ET
The Federal Reserve's next policy meeting is a two-day session concluding on June 20. That's just ten days before the Fed's Operation Twist policy -- swapping short-term bonds for ones with longer duration to help keep 10-year and 30-year bond yields low -- expires. Up until recently, few expected the Fed would seriously consider extending Twist.
But what a difference a lousy job report makes. Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart, who MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jun 6, 2012 10:18 AM ET
By now, you have probably heard of the "feud" taking place between Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Nobel-prize winning New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman. And if you haven't, what the heck are you doing reading this blog?
Anyway, here's the lowdown in case you aren't up to speed. Krugman took Bernanke to task in a Sunday NYT magazine piece, criticizing Bernanke for not doing enough to tackle the MOREPaul R. La Monica - Apr 26, 2012 3:27 PM ET
The poor are finding it even tougher to escape from the lowest income ranks these days.
Most of those in the poorest income quintile spent all or nearly all of the period between 1996 and 2006 stuck in place, according to a new report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Those who did advance didn't move far.
The research, conducted by senior economist Katharine Bradbury, shows that economic mobility has MORETami Luhby - Apr 26, 2012 6:00 AM ET
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||4.32%||4.27%|
|15 yr fixed||3.29%||3.27%|
|30 yr refi||4.29%||4.24%|
|15 yr refi||3.26%||3.25%|
Today's featured rates:
|Latest Report||Next Update|
|Home prices||Aug 28|
|Consumer confidence||Aug 28|
|Manufacturing (ISM)||Sept 4|
|Inflation (CPI)||Sept 14|
|Retail sales||Sept 14|