The notes on the most recent Federal Reserve meeting make it sound quite contentious, with a wide range of opinions ranging from finding new and creative ways to boost economic growth to doubling down on fighting inflation, according to Catherine Rampell’s reporting.
Two obvious questions.
What would it have done for the discussion to add two voices in favor of growth to fill the two empty chairs around the table – especially if one had the stature that goes with a Nobel Prize in economics.
And: the Fed seems to be sending every possible signal that the upcoming meeting in September is going to be an important one. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for Barack Obama to fill those empty chairs right now, using recess appointments (and, yes, he almost certainly can), before the Senate returns?
I’m not an expert Fed watcher, and I really couldn’t tell you how much of a difference two growth advocates would actually make. But I can say that the Fed’s decisions at their next meeting are probably more important for the economy, and more important for Barack Obama’s political health, than whatever he winds up saying in his big jobs speech next week – and there’s every possibility that monetary policy is going to be more important than whatever actions come out of Obama’s jobs initiatives, putting aside the rhetoric. My guess is that efforts to affect the content of the speech are misdirected; anyone who believes that economic growth should be the priority should be focused on pushing Obama to fill those empty seats.