The Fed’s Failure

To understand the scope of the failure of monetary policy right now, this is the paragraph you need to read:

Measures of underlying inflation are currently at levels somewhat below those the Committee judges most consistent, over the longer run, with its mandate to promote maximum employment and price stability. With substantial resource slack continuing to restrain cost pressures and longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation is likely to remain subdued for some time before rising to levels the Committee considers consistent with its mandate.

This is not brain surgery. If inflation had been running too high for a while and was seen as likely to continue to be too high for a while more, the Fed would act to bring it down. By the same token, if inflation has been running too low for a while and is seen as likely to continue to be too high for a while more, the Fed should act to bring it up. But they’re — well — they’re not going to do anything for no clear reason.

Beyond Fed condemning, though, let me observe that I think I’ve been ahead of the curve among progressives in calling attention to the importance of this topic and that despite that fact I was behind the reality curve. The Great Recession has revealed lack of capacity for engaging with monetary issues to be a major institutional weakness of the progressive movement.