I thank Barbara Snyder and The 50 Club for inviting me to speak tonight about the economy and monetary policy. I am especially looking forward to the question and answer portion of the program because as we navigate through the year, we will need to be particularly attuned to what is happening on the ground. The Federal Reserve System is actually well structured to do that. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, right up the street, is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks distributed across the country that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. Congress designed the Fed more than 100 years ago as a decentralized central bank, independent within the government but not independent from the government. The Fed was designed to balance public-sector and private-sector interests, and Wall Street and Main Street concerns. This design has served the country well by allowing monetary policy decisions to take into account the diversity of the American economy and its people. The regional structure also allows us to carry out our other responsibilities, including supervising and regulating banks, offering financial services to the U.S. government, overseeing the payments system, and identifying policies that can help promote economic progress and access to credit in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.