Jackson Hole Summit Reveals Obliviousness of Fed

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (photo credit: International Monetary Fund via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (photo credit: International Monetary Fund via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Over at Forbes.com, Brian Domitrovic provides a solid rundown of last week’s Jackson Hole Summit, hosted by the American Principles Project.  Domitrovic argues that while the Fed’s concurrent conference remained mired in discussions of irrelevancies, APP’s summit featured true innovators whose ideas could have a significant impact:

Jackson Hole was particularly weird for the Fed this year: it gave the impression that the institution is oblivious.

It was also different at Jackson Hole this year because the Fed had company. There was a shadow conference hosted by the American Principles Project and run by Steve Lonegan, the man who in February had scored the conservative critics’ meeting with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

At the shadow event (where I was a discussant), there was no talk of inflation dynamics, no concentration on tangents. George Gilder spoke of how information theory verifies that gold, and possibly bitcoin, functions as money better than all other comers. Judy Shelton and Benn Steil debated the wisdom of Shelton’s proposal for gold-backed bonds issued by the Treasury. Mark Calabria revealed the complicity of the New York Fed in helping the big institutions load up on sub-prime assets before the implosion of 2008. The panel on digital currencies told us how that innovation can supplant banks, central and otherwise. Rich Lowrie proved that the Fed suppresses wage growth in the name of inflation-fighting. British MP’s Kwasi Kwarteng and Steve Baker and U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett explained how monetary reform is politically feasible.

The APP’s Jackson Hole Summit was, manifestly, a comprehensive intellectual exercise in the service of diagnosing and solving a major practical problem. The matter of the government’s official inflation and unemployment numbers, the Fed’s focus, is not a real practical issue. It is an abstraction that at this juncture serves to obscure the difficulties with which this economy is beset. The Fed feels itself bound to stare at these irrelevancies, “inflation” and “unemployment” as defined by second-rate careerists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After it has done so, the Fed declares its principal duty discharged.

This is to fall into the fallacy of officiousness…

You can read Domitrovic’s full column here.

Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.