The Federal Reserve has released transcripts of tense 2010 policy meetings, at which officials launched a new bond-buying program to support a limp economic recovery.
The transcripts provide a window into how then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke guided a divided policy committee behind closed doors over several months to launch the central bank’s second bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, or QE2. The Fed previously released minutes of the 10 meetings, but they summarized the discussions without identifying or quoting the participants by name.
Fed officials launched the $600 billion program eight months after trying to step away from the extraordinary stimulus they had embraced after the financial crisis. QE2 set off debate inside the Fed and abroad about whether its policies were working, and whether they would lead to unintended problems in financial markets and the economy.
Mr. Bernanke started moving toward it in August of 2010, and the Fed announced the program in November of that year.
“Persistently high unemployment, through its adverse effects on household income and confidence, could threaten the strength and sustainability of the recovery,” Mr. Bernanke said publicly several days after launching the program, adding that “low rates of resource utilization in the United States are creating disinflationary pressures.”
It was a tumultuous year for the Fed in other ways.