[Skip to the end]

In case there was any doubt things have changed.

from his July 28 speech:

Policymakers, academic economists, and the general public broadly agree that maintaining a low and stable inflation rate significantly benefits the economy. For example, low and predictable inflation simplifies the savings and retirement planning of households, facilitates firms’ production and investment decisions, and minimizes distortions that arise because the tax system is not completely indexed to inflation. Moreover, I interpret the available economic theory and empirical evidence as indicating that a long-run average inflation rate of about 2 percent, or perhaps a bit lower, is low enough to facilitate the everyday decisions of households and businesses while also alleviating the risk of debt deflation and other pitfalls of excessively low inflation.

The rationale for promoting maximum sustainable employment is also fairly obvious: Recessions weaken household income and business production, and unemployment hurts workers and their families.

No mention of lost real output. Must have been an oversight.

As I have outlined elsewhere, these two objectives are typically complementary and mutually reinforcing: that is, done properly, stabilizing inflation contributes to stabilizing economic activity around its sustainable level, and vice versa.

Hence the dual mandate is met by sustaining low and stable inflation rates.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note a fundamental difference between the objectives of price stability and maximum sustainable employment. On the one hand, the long-run average rate of inflation is solely determined by the actions of the Federal Reserve.

And they do believe that. They believe it’s all a function of the interest rates they select.

On the other hand, the level of maximum sustainable employment is not something that can be chosen by the Federal Reserve, because no central bank can control the level of real economic activity or employment over the longer run.

And they are not responsible for the level of economic activity, only the rate of inflation.

In fact, any attempt to use stimulative monetary policy to maintain employment above its long-run sustainable level would inevitably lead to an upward spiral of inflation with severe adverse consequences for household income and employment.


[top]

Leave a Reply