The recession will likely end this year, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke declared yesterday on 60 Minutes in his first interview since taking office. Fed chairmen don't typically give TV interviews—the last one was Alan Greenspan in 1987—but Bernanke ventured out from behind the curtain to reassure the public. "This is a chance for me to talk to America directly," he said. “I think all of our efforts have produced results." He expects unemployment to level off later this year, and the recovery to begin in 2010.
Bernanke expressed anger at having to bail out Wall Street firms that made bad decisions—AIG in particular—but insisted the market's stability is crucial for recovery. “We have no choice,” he said simply. “I care about Wall Street for one reason and one reason only—because what happens on Wall Street matters to Main Street," added Bernanke, whose immigrant grandfather started a family drugstore.