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下一轮调控“弹药”  

2008-12-17 17:48:56|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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美联储的利息已经快降到0和0.25%之间了。任何人会问央行的“弹药”是不是快用完了?其实美联储还有更多的事可以去做。

The Next Round of Ammunition

from Greg Mankiw's Blog by Greg Mankiw
With the Fed having cut interest rates today to a target range of zero to 1/4 percent, many people will be asking whether the central bank has run out of ammunition. A good question. Obviously, the next step is not going to be further cuts in the federal funds rate. But there is still more the Fed can do.

Notice this passage in the Fed's press release (emphasis added):
The Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth and to preserve price stability. In particular, the Committee anticipates that weak economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time.
The phrase "for some time" is aimed at managing expectations in order to keep long-term interest rates down.

The next step for the Fed is to drop the "price stability" rhetoric. The Fed has never been truly committed to stable prices. After all, inflation during the Volcker-Greenspan era averaged about 2 to 3 percent. The Fed could have lowered it to zero if it had wanted. Now that zero, or even below zero, is a possibility, the Fed needs to convince people that we are going back to the normal inflation rate of 2 to 3 percent.

Let me suggest this wording for the Fed's next press release:
The Committee recognizes that moderate inflation would be desirable under the present circumstances. In particular, the overall level of prices a decade hence should be about 30 percent higher than the price level today. The committee anticipates keeping the stance of monetary policy sufficiently accomodative to achieve that degree of inflation over the coming decade.
That is, even if the Fed cannot reduce nominal interest rates, it can reduce real interest rates by committing to a modest amount of inflation.

Some would view this as a radical change in monetary policy. In some ways it would be. Given how weak the economy is, however, a bit of radicalism may be called for. I am more comfortable having the Fed commit itself to modest inflation than having the federal government commit itself to a trillion dollars of new spending.

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