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“Dodd-Frank regulations make mortgages, refinancing and home-improvement loans much more difficult to obtain. The recovery in housing construction, though welcomed, remains lackluster as compared to past recoveries. In turn, this slows expansion in building materials, major appliances, furniture and other durable goods,” Mr. Morici says.

The White House continues to peddle the bogus line that manufacturing jobs are growing, but The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, reported Sunday that “the growth in manufacturing jobs has basically stalled over the past year.”

Yet there was Mr. Bernanke telling reporters with a straight face Wednesday that the economy was showing signs of improvement, and that future risks to the economy have “diminished.” Where does he see strong growth in this economy to justify his suggestion that the time is now fast approaching when he will scale down the stimulus?

Even the Fed’s own surveys aren’t finding it. Earlier this month, 11 of the Fed’s 12 banking districts reported only “modest to moderate” economic growth. Only the 12th, in Dallas, reported strong growth.

But “modest” isn’t going to bring a nearly 8 percent unemployment rate down to Mr. Bernanke’s 7 percent forecast anytime soon.

Indeed, even several Fed members said this month’s Beige Book survey fell well short of the strong, sustained growth that is needed before anyone even thinks about scaling back the Fed’s $85 billion-a-month bond-buying stimulus.

The sad fact of the matter is that Mr. Bernanke’s stimulus efforts, as far as they’ve gone, have been the only policy holding up the weak Obama economy. Maybe he is sending a message to the White House and Congress that stronger fiscal medicine (a simpler tax code and lower tax rates?) is needed to lift this economy to a higher level of growth and job creation.

Maybe he’s saying the Fed can’t do much more than it has and that it’s time to enact a new, long-term, pro-growth, pro-jobs program. Or as John F. Kennedy said in his 1960 campaign to cut income taxes across the board: “We can do better.”

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.