"You know, Mr. Chairman, there are so many people outside this building, across this country, who say, 'To hell with them. They made bad bets. The wages of failure on Wall Street should be failure,'" Pelley remarked.
"Let me give you an analogy, if I might," Bernanke said. "If you have a neighbor, who smokes in bed. And he's a risk to everybody. If suppose he sets fire to his house, and you might say to yourself, you know, 'I'm not gonna call the fire department. Let his house burn down. It's fine with me.' But then, of course, but what if your house is made of wood? And it's right next door to his house? What if the whole town is made of wood? Well, I think we'd all agree that the right thing to do is put out that fire first, and then say, 'What punishment is appropriate? How should we change the fire code? What needs to be done to make sure this doesn't happen in the future? How can we fire proof our houses?' That's where we are now. We have a fire going on." ...
Asked what the first signs of recovery will be, Bernanke told Pelley, "Well, I think that one sign would be that a large bank is successful in raising private equity. Right now, all the private money is sitting on the sidelines saying, 'We don't know what these banks are worth. We don't know that they're stable.' And they're not willing to put their money into the banks."
"If you had a message for the American People in this interview, what would it be?" Pelley asked.
"Scott, I'd say three things. I'd say, first of all, that the Federal Reserve is here, and is gonna do everything possible to support this recovery. The second thing I would say is that we have to understand, though, that recovery is not gonna happen until the financial markets and the banks are stabilized. And we do have a plan, we have a program for that. But it's gonna take some patience," Bernanke said.
"But the third and final thing I'd just like to say to the American People is that I have every confidence that this economy will recover, and recover in a strong and sustained way. The American people are among the most productive in the world. We have the best technologies. We have great universities. We have entrepreneurs. I just have every confidence that as we get through this crisis, that our economy will begin to grow again, and it will remain the most powerful and dynamic economy in the world."