17 Dec 2008

Mankiw Wants a Nobel Too So Starts Writing Like Krugman

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Look at his latest blog post calling for the Fed to explicitly abandon price stability (HT2EPJ). In his words:

[E]ven 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. The more we can rely on monetary rather than fiscal policy to return the economy to full employment and sustainable growth, the better off future generations of taxpayers will be.

The abandonment of “price stability” would be the modern equivalent of Roosevelt’s abandonment of the gold standard. Of all the things that Roosevelt did to get the economy out of the Depression, jettisoning the gold standard was the most successful. Today, monetary policy is fettered not by gold but by fear of inflation. Perhaps it is time is get over that fear, at least for a while. As Jim Tobin said in an earlier era, there are worse things than inflation, and we have them.

I think all there is to say, is a line from a childish MTV show: “No Beavis, that would suck.”

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