Sunday Morning Quotation – Some Contrarian Thinking at the Fed (while channeling Dr. Hayek)

A nice acknowledgement by Richard Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, of what they at the Fed do not know:

We are blessed at the Fed with sophisticated econometric models and superb analysts. We can easily conjure up plausible theories as to what we will do when it comes to our next tack or eventually reversing course. The truth, however, is that nobody on the committee, nor on our staffs at the Board of Governors and the 12 Banks, really knows what is holding back the economy. Nobody really knows what will work to get the economy back on course. And nobody—in fact, no central bank anywhere on the planet—has the experience of successfully navigating a return home from the place in which we now find ourselves. No central bank—not, at least, the Federal Reserve—has ever been on this cruise before.

Here Fisher is paging Dr. Higgs and the regime uncertainty thesis by quoting a “respected” CEO:

“We are in ‘stall mode,’ stuck like Velcro, until the fog of uncertainty surrounding fiscal policy and the debacle in Europe lifts.”

And finally, challenging the dual mandate of the Fed:

I would point out to those who reacted with some invective to the committee’s decision, especially those from political corners, that it was the Congress that gave the Fed its dual mandate. That very same Congress is doing nothing to motivate business to expand and put people back to work. Our operating charter calls for us to conduct policy aimed at achieving full employment in addition to preserving price stability. A future Congress might restrict us to a single mandate—like other central banks in the world operate under—focused solely on price stability. But unless or until that is done, we have to deliver on what the American people, as conveyed by their elected representatives, expect of us.

The rest here is very much worth a careful read.  I’ve been in favor of using monetary policy (if properly done) in the recent past to help with our economic troubles.  Fisher gives us something to think about in terms of the limits of monetary policy, the problem of the Fed’s dual mandate, and the need to get our fiscal house in order.

5 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Quotation – Some Contrarian Thinking at the Fed (while channeling Dr. Hayek)

  1. It shocks me to hear that a bunch of really smart central planners with the world’s best tools available to them are incapable of predicting and manipulating the behavior of more than 300 million people to produce maximum economic efficiency and prosperity.

  2. Any intelligent person could see that Central Planning,Central Banking,Fiat Currency and money printing will not solve the economic doldrums that today plague America. First off,there is too much debt already in place. 2nd. the Federal Government,in order to fund both guns and butter (.Welfare and Warfare) is taking too much wealth out of the private economy. 3rd. Government borrowing,in order to keep the Welfare/Warfare State in play, has crowded out Private borrowing and thus put a damper on private investing and job growth. 4th, Federal Reserve money printing and QE have created distortions in the Economy by creating bubble and bust scenarios that have wasted resources. This “goosing” of the Economy,especially for political purposes, sends the wrong signals to investors who,in the end lose out. However,”insiders” get the right information and often sell short. This situation has occurred over and over again throughout history,.The only problem is that the Dollar is rapidly losing its purchasing power(over 98% in the last 99 years). What will happen when the Dollar is printed into oblivion and hyperinflation descends upon the land? Throughout the thousands of years of economic history Central Planning,fiat paper money,Central Banking coupled with a large government plus wars and bread and circuses have,every time,destroyed economies and Nation States. Always,no exceptions. America is traveling that same road. The Federal Reserve paper money,debt backed Fiat Currency system was a mistake benefiting only the Political Class and the plutocrats. What should be done is to close down the Fed,do away with the Legal Tender Laws, end the wars,close down the Military Industrial Complex,phase out the Welfare State and vastly downsize the Central Government. This is the right thing to do. In the short run,many Americans will suffer. But,in the long run,as a nation ,we will be much better off.

  3. You make an excellent point, as does Mr. Fisher, although I think he does so inadvertently. QE1, 2, and now 3 = Insanity, i.e.; doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  4. After reading Mr. Fisher’s comments on the recent Fed QE3, I am reminded of the saying: “The flogging will continue until morale improves.”

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