Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Inflation May Help Economy, Expert Says

At least one economist argues that allowing inflation to occur “naturally” could actually help the struggling U.S. economy. Mark Thoma notes the Federal Reserve is expected to implement controls if inflation approaches 2% and unemployment remains high by raising interest rates in an effort to retain “inflation credibility,” rather than keeping them low through 2014 as it had previously announced it would do. Thoma argues, however, that exerting control to hit a particular inflation target absent consideration of the other factors is unwise, and that inflation during a recession can encourage more activity in the market rather than restrain it. For more on this continue reading the following article from Economist’s View

If inflation begins to increase before the economy has fully recovered, the Fed shouldn't panic:
Federal Reserve Policy: Exceptions Improve the Rule: At some point during the recovery, the Fed may face an important decision. If the inflation rate begins to rise above the Fed’s 2% target and the unemployment rate is still relatively high, will the Fed be willing to leave interest rates low and tolerate a temporary increase in the inflation rate?
Probably not. Even though higher inflation can help to stimulate a depressed economy, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, is not in favor of allowing higher inflation because it could undermine the Fed’s “hard-won inflation credibility.” And recent Fed communications seem to be setting the stage for the Fed to abandon its commitment to keep interest rates low through the end of 2014. This adds to the likelihood that the Fed will raise interest rates quickly if inflation begins increasing above the 2% target even if the economy has not yet fully recovered.
As I’ll explain in a moment, that’s the wrong thing to do. But first, why does the Fed put so much value on its credibility? ...[continue reading]...
 This blog post was republished with permission from Economist's View.

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