Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sympathized with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement’s dissatisfaction with economic inequality at a press conference Wednesday, but said protesters should not blame the Fed for bailing out the banks.
Bernanke responded to a question about “Occupy Wall Street” by saying that he was dissatisfied with the state of the economy as well, particularly with the high unemployment and income inequality.
“It’s been going on,” he said, “increases in inequality have been going on for at least 30 years. But, obviously, as that has continued we now have a more unequal society than we’ve had in the past.”
The Fed gave out $16.1 trillion in emergency loans to U.S. and foreign financial institutions between Dec. 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010, according to figures produced by the government’s first-ever audit of the central bank.
Out of all borrowers, Citigroup received the most financial assistance from the Fed, at $2.5 trillion. Morgan Stanley came in second with $2.04 trillion, followed by Merill Lynch at $1.9 trillion and Bank of America at $1.3 trillion.