Rabu, 24 Mei 2023

Hoover Monetary Policy Conference Videos

The videos from the Hoover Monetary Policy Conference are now online here.  See my previous post for a summary of the conference. 

The big picture is now clearer to me. Phil Jefferson rightly asked, what do you mean off track? Monetary policy is doing fine. Interest rates are, in his view, where they should be. He argued the case well. 

But now I have an answer: The Fed has had three significant institutional failures: 1) Its inflation target is 2%, yet inflation exploded to 8%. The Fed did not forecast it, and did not see it even as it was happening. (Nor did many other forecasters, pointing to deeper conceptual problems.) 2) In the SVB and subsequent mess, the Fed's regulatory apparatus did not see or do anything about plain vanilla interest-rate risk combined with uninsured deposits. 3) I add a third, that nobody else seems to complain about: In 2020 starting with treasury markets, moving on to money market funds, state and local financing,  and then an astonishing "whatever it takes" that corporate bond prices shall not fall, the Fed already revealed that the Dodd-Frank machinery was broken. (Will commercial real estate be next?) 

Yet there is very little appetite for self-examination or even external examination. How did a good institution, filled with good, honest, smart and devoted public servants fail so badly? That's not "off-track" that's a derailment. 

Well, two sessions at the conference begin to ask those questions, and the others aimed at the same issues. Hopefully they will prod the Fed to do so as well, or at least to be interested in other's answers to those questions. 

(My minor contributions: on why the Taylor rule is important here, where I think I did a pretty good job; and comments on why inflation forecasts went so wrong at  1:00:16 here.)

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