September 17, 2009 – 2:55 pm

With word that green shoots sprouting up all over the road ways and side walks, Ben Bernanke’s shrill statement that the “recession is likely over” could almost trick some one into believing all the hype.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the recession was “very likely over,” as consumers showed some of the first tangible signs of spending again.

Mr. Bernanke, who had become cautiously more upbeat in recent weeks amid signs of third-quarter growth, said for the first time that forecasters agree “at this point that we are in a recovery.”

Why would anyone listen to this clown, who said there was no housing bubble and claimed there would be no recession until we were in a recession. You don’t have to work too hard to conclude Ben knows better, but the people in the know want more proof before putting their money where big Ben’s mouth is.

Citigroup Inc (C.N) plans to pay back $20 billion it owes the government when the bank sees more concrete signs of recovery, Chief Executive Vikram Pandit said on Wednesday.

He said Citigroup has plenty of capital to use to pay back the $20 billion.

“To us it’s really more about timing than capacity (to repay),” Pandit said, speaking at a conference at Barclays Capital in New York.

To everyone it’s all about timing and it’s clear that the time of recovery is not now.