One persistent concern about the sluggish economy has been the uncertainty generated by policymakers. Well, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve did their part last week to define a clear path. The central bank announced that interest rates would be kept at zero as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent and inflation stays under control.
The move not only provides a firm marker for the economy. It reflects a further leap forward for a bank long shrouded in mystery, its public statements often seeming designed to obscure. Bernanke has aimed to change all of that, thinking, correctly, that Fed transparency is good for the institution and the economy.