昨日紹介したスティーブ・ワルドマンのエントリで、彼が「統治構造や責務の変更無しには、FRBが近い将来に名目GDPや物価水準を目標とする見込みは無い」と述べたのに対し、Andy Harlessがコメント欄で以下のように反論している。

That may be true, but I think the only coherent interpretation of the current mandate is that it requires the Fed to do NGDP targeting or something similar. And as I (and others) have pointed out, NGDP targeting is a special case of the “Taylor rule” approach that the Fed appeared to be following prior to 2008. It’s very hard to justify the past 3 years of policy in terms of the Fed’s current mandate. The law is the law, and whatever traitors like Rick Perry and Ron Paul (may they both be hanged!) may say, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to be upset when the Fed fails to follow current law.


You’ve every right to be upset. Your interpretation of current law is certainly reasonable, but it is not undeniable. So long as there is significant ambiguity in the Fed’s mandate, how it will be interpreted is a political question. NGDP targeting likely implies at least periods of “catch-up” inflation during which creditors have to give back windfall disinflation gains, and perhaps implies occasional unanticipated inflation, when RGDP proves unable to follow close behind the target. Creditors and banks have every reason to prefer a memory-less, disinflation-biased price stability commitment. If we want NGDP targeting, we will have to unambiguously make that the Fed’s mandate, or else generate external political pressure sufficiently string to counter the Fed’s bank-centric governance structure. (Alternatively, we could change the Fed’s insular, bank-dominated, anti-democratic governance structure.)

In human affairs, being right and being relevant are very different things. Economists as a group often treat the Fed as though it were different, like some kind of disinterested court of macroeconomic affairs. That is and has always been incredibly naive.

So be upset. And play hardball. You don’t have to persuade Ben Bernanke. He would already agree with you, if he were not in a stuck in a political context where he cannot agree with you. It’s not his mind you have to change but his circumstance.



To the degree that our problem is on the demand-side and stems from private-debt-overhang-induced risk aversion or a desire to hoard money, we know the solution. That problem, if it exists, will go away if we give everyone money. But giving everyone money is not conventional, authorized, monetary policy. It requires new law. Politically, the law it requires would be hard law, because it shifts the distribution of risk in our very unequal polity. If we were to give everyone $20,000 tomorrow, whether it’s Ben or Timothy signing the checks, debt-overhang goes away as a macroeconomic concern. I believe, to some degree, in the demand-side story, so I’d wager that real GDP and employment would rise as well. But we would risk a step up in the price level, and therefore a devaluation in real terms of fixed-income claims and bank equity. Under status quo policy stagnation, near-term macroeconomic risks are borne primarily by the poor and marginally employed. With demand-side stimulus, whether designed by Scott Sumner via the Fed or Matt Yglesias via the Treasury, those risks would shift to financial savers, who in aggregate hold the bulk of their portfolio in the form of fixed-income securities, and who also hold the testicles of members of Congress.



*2:cf. この前段でワルドマンはイグレシアスのこのエントリにリンクし、(拙ブログで以前紹介した)MMTerのアイディアのリフレイン、と評している。