Thursday, January 7, 2010

John Taylor Responds to Bernanke's Speech

It is good to see John Taylor pushing back against Bernanke's defense of the Fed's low interest rate policies in the early-to-mid 2000s:
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- John Taylor, creator of the so-called Taylor Rule for guiding monetary policy, disputed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s argument that low interest rates didn’t cause the U.S. housing bubble.

“The evidence is overwhelming that those low interest rates were not only unusually low but they logically were a factor in the housing boom and therefore ultimately the bust,” Taylor, a Stanford University economist, said in an interview today in Atlanta.

Taylor, a former Treasury undersecretary, was responding to a speech by Bernanke two days ago, when he said the Fed’s monetary policy after the 2001 recession “appears to have been reasonably appropriate” and that better regulation would have been more effective than higher rates in curbing the boom.

[...]

“It had an effect on the housing boom and increased a lot of risk taking,” said Taylor, 63, who was attending the American Economic Association’s annual meeting.

Taylor echoed criticism of scholars including Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, who say the Fed helped inflate U.S. housing prices by keeping rates too low for too long. The collapse in housing prices led to the worst recession since the Great Depression and the loss of more than 7 million U.S. jobs.

[...]

“Low rates certainly contributed to the crisis,” Baker said in an interview on Jan. 3. “I don’t know how he can deny culpability. You brought the economy to the brink of a Great Depression.”

Nice to hear from Dean Baker too. Read the rest of the article here.

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