Home Global The New Powell Doctrine: The Economist

The New Powell Doctrine: The Economist

The New Powell Doctrine: The Economist

NO ONE CAN accuse him of inconsistency. Over the past year Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has again and again used the same phrasing to kick off his press conferences after it sets interest rates. “Good afternoon. At the Federal Reserve, we are strongly committed to achieving the monetary-policy goals that Congress has given us: maximum employment and price stability.” It may not be an opening that sets pulses racing. But that is just how Mr Powell wants it: a projection of control, in terms any high schooler can understand.

The simple wording belies a remarkable evolution in Fed policy and practice on his watch. Mr Powell has overseen a giant monetary response to the covid-induced slowdown. The Fed has bought more than $4trn in assets during the pandemic (equivalent to 18% of GDP), dwarfing the scale of its actions after the global financial crisis, and swelling its total balance-sheet to $8.3trn. Mr Powell has refined the way the central bank communicates, targeting his messages at ordinary Americans rather than at economists. He has led a landmark shift in the way it thinks about interest rates. And in the process, he has presided over a bold gamble, keeping policy ultra-loose even as inflation soars. To his supporters—of whom there are many—he saved America from an economic catastrophe. To his critics, he is steering it into danger.

Read the full story.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here