Free Exchange parses Ben Bernanke:
Free Exchange: From the horse's mouth: I can't imagine getting a more direct answer from the chairman than that. Mr Bernanke does not want to risk a de-anchoring of inflation expectations. He is willing to accept 10% or greater unemployment and the resulting economic and political fall-out in order to avoid that risk. Personally, I think that Mr Bernanke owes us all a better explanation of why he has opted to place so much more emphasis on the price stability aspect of his mission than the full employment aspect. And, there should be a policy debate on this question, the resolution of which should inform the choice to reappoint (or not) Mr Bernanke. But that's clearly not going to happen. It's unfortunate. But it is what it is. Best to focus on the next question—how to minimise the fall-out from five or more years of high unemployment.
From my perspective, the most interesting thing is that I believe that the Ben Bernanke of ten or even five years ago would have advocated adopting a 3% inflation target under circumstances like those of today.