Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans continued his crusade to rescue the American economy in a CNBC interview today. He makes the key point that rather than worrying that more action will open the Fed up to more unfair criticism, Fed officials ought to worry that more failure will drive more popular discontent:
“I think we should be more aggressive, and that quite frankly makes a lot of people nervous,” Evans also said.
It’s natural for the Fed to face criticism “when things aren’t going very well,” said Evans. However, he lets such criticism “roll off my back” and focusing on his job.
Monetary policy stimulus has come under attack by members of Congress. Republican Congressional members sent a letter listing their complaints on the eve of the Fed’s most-recent policy meeting in early November.
It’s absurd to think that most members of the public have meaningful opinions about the conduct of monetary policy. What they have opinions about are high unemployment, short hours, falling asset prices, and falling incomes. The Fed’s problem is that while it’s done “a lot of stuff” it hasn’t set meaningful targets and then hit them. As a result, “a lot of stuff” has coincided with widespread economic misery and discontent. If they start doing things that work, then people will cheer.