March 14, 2008

Paul Krugman: Betting the Bank

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Volt @ 1:09 am

Paul Krugman, The New York Times, March 14, 2008

Four years ago, an academic economist named Ben Bernanke co-authored a technical paper that could have been titled “Things the Federal Reserve Might Try if It’s Desperate” — although that may not have been obvious from its actual title, “Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Investigation.”

Today, the Fed is indeed desperate, and Mr. Bernanke, as its chairman, is putting some of the paper’s suggestions into effect. Unfortunately, however, the Bernanke Fed’s actions — even though they’re unprecedented in their scope — probably won’t be enough to halt the economy’s downward spiral.

And if I’m right about that, there’s another implication: the ugly economics of the financial crisis will soon create some ugly politics, too.

To understand what’s going on, you have to know a bit about how monetary policy usually operates.

The Fed’s economic power rests on the fact that it’s the only institution with the right to add to the “monetary base”: pieces of green paper bearing portraits of dead presidents, plus deposits that private banks hold at the Fed and can convert into green paper at will.

Read More Here

1 Comment

  1. Gee… perhaps it might eventually dawn on the Fed – this great new idea – a non-fiat dollar! Wow!
    We had over 100 years of NO inflation and can have it again any time the Fed gets up the courage.
    Trouble is, of course, that a non-fiat dollar can’t be printed with wild abandon as is being done now.

    Comment by grimgold — March 14, 2008 @ 11:06 am

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