Focus on Monetary Policy and Inflation

Focus on Monetary Policy and Inflation

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In a November 16 blog post, conservative economist Scott Sumner took issue with conservatives convinced that the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing is some nefarious plot to destroy the dollar. It is an appropriate response to a lack of aggregate demand, the economy’s central problem, he believes.

Also on November 16, Morgan Stanley economist Richard Berner published a commentary on food price inflation. He anticipates only modest increases in the future.

On November 15, a group of Republican economists and political operatives published an open letter criticizing Ben Bernanke. Princeton economist Paul Krugman was highly critical in a November 15 blog post, which accused the economists of putting party loyalty above their professional economics. Harvard economist Jeff Frankel also posted a critical comment on the open letter.

On November 11, the European Central Bank published its latest Monthly Bulletin. It contains a chapter on the role of monetary policy in preventing the development of asset bubbles that could be destabilizing. It recommends that monetary policy “lean against the wind.”

In a November 10 post, University of California, San Diego, economist James Hamilton says that rising commodity prices are strong evidence that the Fed’s quantitative easing is working as planned.

Also on November 10, a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study warned that quantitative easing by the Fed could be inflationary.

And on November 10, the New York Times published a symposium with comments from a number of prominent economists regarding a proposal by World Bank president Robert Zoellick to have gold play an increased role in international monetary arrangements.

In a November 9 working paper, economists George Selgin, William Lastrapes, and Lawrence H. White review the history on monetary policy before and after establishment of the Federal Reserve. It argues that the Fed has been destabilizing.

On November 8, MIT announced creation of a new database that measures inflation in real time by utilizing data from checkout scanners on 5 million purchases a day.

I last posted items on this topic on November 11.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here . Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.