Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inflation is not the danger in our current economic straits - thoughts on Fed Chairman Bernanke's press conference

I'm going to double-down on the inflation "issue" - it's a non-issue right now, except as a cover for a regressive economic agenda. Inflation is as low as it's been in years. And, despite global fluctuations in oil and food commodities prices, there are no signs that core inflation - which is the predictive norm for Federal Reserve monetary policies, as opposed to "events-driven" shifts in the markets most contingent on external factors and thus most subject to short-term spikes - will rise significantly.

Brad De Long, economics professor at UC Berkeley, offers a good explanation of the current and essentially timid Fed policy, as interpreted from Ben Bernanke's precedent-setting press conference. And De Long explains why he sees the Fed inflation target as overly restrictive and oblivious to the continuing high unemployment:
Chairman Ben
A few years ago former Federal Reserve governor Larry Meyer said: “If you have not noticed that the Federal Reserve is pursuing a 2 percent per year inflation target, you have not been paying attention.”
To me the most surprising thing about Chairman Bernanke’s press conference was his apparent abandonment of that 2 percent per year inflation target.