The Fed Needs To Take A Look At Itself: WSJ Editorial By Levy And Plosser (Taylor Rule Implied Target Rate Of 12.07%, Current Rate At 4%)

Paul Revere and the Raiders said it best about The Federal Reserve. Take a look at yourself.

Mickey Levy of Berenberg Capital and Charles Plosser wrote a great op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Federal Reserve Needs a Hard Look in the Mirror.” Here is a Fed Reserve St Louis paper by Levy and Plosser entitled “The Murky Future of Monetary Policy.”


In August 2020, the Federal Reserve unveiled its new strategic framework. One major objective of the Fed was to address its concerns over the potential consequences for the conduct of monetary policy when the policy rate was constrained by its effective lower bound. This article concludes that there are significant flaws in the new strategy and that it encourages a more discretionary approach to monetary policy and increases the risks of policy errors. The new framework is an overly complex and asymmetric flexible average inflation targeting scheme that introduces a significant inflationary bias into policy and expands the scope for discretion by broadening the Fed’s employment mandate to “maximum inclusive employment.” In a postscript, the article describes how quickly the flaws have been revealed and urges a reset toward a more systematic and coherent strategy that is transparent and broadly understood by the public.

I attended a speech by macoeconomist Gershon Mandelker at the National Association of Realtors where he called on the Federal Reserve to follow some observable rule rather than the complex (or seat of the pants) approach to monetary policy.

With today’s inflation report (core inflation YoY of 6%) results in a Taylor Rule estimate of The Fed Funds Target Rate of 12.07%. We are struggling to reach 5% as a “terminal” Fed target rate (currently at 4% and likely to rise 50 basis points at tomorrow’s Fed meeting).

The matrix of CPI and unemployment under the Taylor Rule shows that The Fed’s target rate isn’t at even 5% for any relevant combination of core CPI (inflation) and unemployment rate.

Note that since the financial crisis the Fed’s target rate (white line) has been consistely below the Taylor Rule implied rate (blue dashed line).

Here is Treasury Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen laughing at those who want some kind of observable Fed rule.

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