While I can understand Bernanke's desire to most optimize the tools already available to him, the quote indicates an unwillingness to look beyond conventional methods. In a time of economic crisis, I would prefer government officials, economic players like Bernanke, attempt to generate new ideas for improvement. Even without the recession, is constantly striving for improvement not always best? Moreover, the governmental implementation over the past several years has failed to boost the economy. Now more than ever, the FOMC should look to new means for growth.
Any reflection on past policies should only mimic those in place during times of economic prosperity.
Controlling the money supply to adjust the interest rate is the Fed's main tool. This quote suggests that Bernanke believes that his monetary policy tool has been exhausted despite the recent approval of QE3. The US economy is struggling. Real GDP is down from last quarter, and any improvements are slow. Monetary policy is becoming nearly ineffectual with Federal Funds rate essentially plateauing at zero. At this point, altering the money supply can only do so much. Bernanke is certainly aware of this predicament. The people are looking for economic answers through monetary policy, and based on this quote it seems that they may not receive those answers.
From a PR perspective, this quote can be seen as positive and negative. As a college student voting in her first election and whose family was hit hard by the recession, it is somewhat disheartening to know that the Federal Reserve plans to keep doing the same things and there will be virtually no change in monetary policy. I don't think my stakeholder group is satisfied and I think the media has also perpetuated the idea that our economy is in a continuous struggle with only small turnarounds. On the other hand, the tools that the Federal Reserve are given are powerful. I'm reminded of the mantra "where you sit is where you stand"; I think it is important for the Federal Reserve to be confident and comfortable (as you can get in an issue of this magnitude) with the messages that they deliver.