The Fed has a ‘decent chance’ of a ‘soft-ish landing’ that averts full-on recession, Bernanke says

The Fed has a “decent chance” of averting recession and orchestrating a “soft-ish landing,” former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said Sunday.

Such a landing, however, would depend on supply-side inflation pressures improving, Bernanke said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Bloomberg reported.

“The U.S. economy today is a mixed bag,” Bernanke said. “A recession is possible. Economists are very bad at predicting recessions, but I think the Fed has a decent chance, a reasonable chance of what Jay Powell calls a ‘soft-ish landing.”’

Just what might a “soft-ish” landing look like? Perhaps an incredibly mild recession that cools down ulta-hot inflation, the worst in 40 years, or perhaps no recession at all, he said, adding that he hopes supply chains improve and that food and oil prices stabilize or moderate in the near future.

A silver lining, and perhaps the economy’s saving grace: a strong U.S. labor market, suggesting that “with some luck, and if the supply side improves, the Fed can get inflation down without imposing the kind of costs we saw in the early ’80s,” Bernanke said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, speaking Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” was not so optimistic, however, urging the Fed to temper rosy forecasts and sober up to the reality of inflation and the risk of recession.

“When inflation is as high as it is right now and unemployment is as low as it is right now, it’s almost always followed within two years by recession,” Summers said, Bloomberg reported.

There is a risk of recession within the next year, and a recession will almost certainly occur within the next two years, he added.

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