Federal Reserve Must Follow Paul Volcker's Approach in Decisively Beating Inflation (user search)

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  Federal Reserve Must Follow Paul Volcker's Approach in Decisively Beating Inflation (search mode)
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Author Topic: Federal Reserve Must Follow Paul Volcker's Approach in Decisively Beating Inflation  (Read 1156 times)
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United States

« on: July 23, 2022, 06:23:04 PM »
« edited: July 23, 2022, 06:37:21 PM by Frodo »

The Fed must emulate the tactics of Volcker’s fight against inflation
Jay Powell mirrors the former Fed chair’s bravery but not his methods

US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell has expressed deep admiration for Paul Volcker, his legendary predecessor who defeated the high inflation that plagued the US economy from 1965 to 1982.

Then, as now, Volcker was fighting more than a decade of loose monetary policy, combined with supply shocks stemming from geopolitical turmoil. But though he extols the man, Powell is deviating from Volcker’s methods. This is perhaps why inflation continues to accelerate, now topping 9 per cent in the US and spreading rapidly throughout the world.

Volcker kept monetary policy tight through the recessions of 1980 and 1981-82, despite populist revolt, bipartisan demands for his firing, even a public call from the US Treasury secretary to ease money supply, which he famously dismissed as an “unusual communication”. During this time, unemployment rose to double digits, but he held firm until inflation finally fell, from more than 14.8 per cent in 1980 to less than 5 per cent by the end of 1982.

His predecessors had pursued “stop and go” policies, continually raising rates when unemployment was falling and lowering them again when jobless levels rose. This had hurt the Fed’s credibility, whipsawed markets, and further entrenched inflation in the economy. Volcker wisely and bravely refused to revert to that tactic.

Given this history, it would be folly for Powell and the Fed to embrace “stop and go” again today. They should also follow Volcker’s example by restraining money supply. Too much money chasing too few goods and services lies at the heart of this and every other inflationary moment.

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