"Hey, Ben. Get to the spending, already. Let's go! That balance sheet is shrinking. Do you think we are paying you to shrink the balance sheet? No sir-ee, Bob. Expansion. Expansion. Ex-pan-sion. Aggressive... aggressive... let's be aggressive. Right? Get it?
Let me put it in terms you can understand. If the Fed's balance sheet doesn't hold one third of all corporate debt by this time Monday, you're fired. [Aside] What? How? Four years? Oh. [To Speakerphone] I mean, you won't be looked upon favorably for reappointment in 2010. You get the idea. [Aside] He get's the idea."
Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Federal Reserve policy makers may have to ramp up their purchases of mortgage securities and other assets after the economy and job market deteriorated further since they last met.
The Federal Open Market Committee, gathering today and tomorrow in Washington, needs to redouble its efforts after the central bank's balance sheet shrank 17 percent from a $2.3 trillion December peak, Fed watchers said. The retreat came even as Bernanke acknowledged the chance that the unemployment rate will exceed 10 percent for the first time in a quarter century.
Bernanke May Need to Ramp Up Fed's Asset Purchases [Bloomberg]