HIGHLIGHTS-Bernanke PBS televison forum on economy

KANSAS CITY, MO., July 26 Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:54pm EDT

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KANSAS CITY, MO., July 26 (Reuters) - The following are highlights of comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke from a forum with television network PBS for its NewsHour program.

ON FED'S INDEPENDENCE:

"We are an agency of the government, but within the government, we need to have some independence from Congress and the administration...When a central banks makes monetary policy without interference, you get low inflation and good growth. We're very very sensitive to that issue. Studies have shown that political influence does not lead to good policy."

"I'm answerable the American people."

"Our independence has to be won every day, if you will, and we have to show we are producing good results and doing so without intervention or interference from other political bodies"

ON NEED TO FIND A WAY TO ALLOW FIRMS TO FAIL:

"We need to have a law, a set of laws, that allow the government to come in, and systematically and in a transparent way, wind down a failing, financial behemoth, to use a word that was used before so that it doesn't create damage throughout the system."

ON FED'S DETERMINATION ON ECONOMY:

"I was not going to be the Federal Reserve Chairman who presided over the Second Great Depression."

"The Federal Reserve has been putting the pedal to the metal. We're doing everything we can to support the economy. We hope that will get us going some time next year."

ON FISCAL STIMULUS:

"It may or may not succeed, but I think we should give it more time."

ON LEHMAN BROTHERS FAILURE:

"We did not make a conscious decision to let Lehman fail, not because we thought it was deserving, but because we knew what the consequences were."

(Washington newsroom 202-898-8310)

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