I suspect that intellectual inertia is affecting conservatives’ assessment of this issue as much as the merits. As in so many other areas of policy thinking, conservatives are still reacting to the experience of the late 1960s through the early 1980s–when monetary restraint was exactly what the economy needed. The last decade, in which excessively loose policy at least abetted a ruinous bubble, has reinforced the conservative preference for tight money. But that preference is not applicable at all times and in all circumstances, and it is no longer 1979.
Yet conservatives are talking about runaway inflation at a time when the consumer price index, which itself is generally considered to overestimate inflation, has been registering 1-2 percent inflation. The spread between inflation-indexed and unindexed bonds has also yielded a market prediction of inflation in that range. Opponents of QE2 say that the Fed should not be deliberately raising expectations of future inflation. Maybe they’re right. But let’s have some perspective. If the Fed delivers on the 2 percent average inflation it seems to want, we’ll still be below the average inflation rates of each of the last five decades.
Scott Sumner (aqui) escreveu uma “Carta aberta” aos “conservadores” (grifo meu):
Here I’d like to direct 7 arguments against my fellow right-wingers:
1. The Fed isn’t really trying to create inflation.
The Fed doesn’t directly control inflation; they influence total nominal spending, which is roughly what Keynesians call aggregate demand. Whether higher nominal spending results in higher inflation depends on a number of factors, such as whether the economy has a lot of underutilized resources. But it’s certainly true that for any given increase in NGDP, the Fed would prefer more RGDP growth and less inflation. Even after QE2, the Fed still expects less than 2% inflation for years to come. If the Fed had any marketing sense, they’d be telling the public they are trying to boost recovery by increasing national income, not increasing the cost of living. It would also have the virtue of being true.
(Leiam os outros 6)
Coincidentemente com todo o “auê”, ontem o Fed de Filadélfia divulgou o Survey of Professional Forecasters referente ao 4º trimestre de 2010 (divulgado quatro vezes ao ano, sempre no meio do trimestre). As figuras ilustram como as perspectivas mudaram do 2º para o 3º trimestre e desse para o 4º trimestre no que se refere ao crescimento do PIB nominal e inflação (CPI-núcleo).
Tanto para o crescimento da demanda agregada (PIB nominal) quanto para a inflação, as expectativas se mantêm em queda. Como a pesquisa já contempla o resultado do PIB preliminar do terceiro trimestre e a ação do Fed (QE2) do dia 3 de novembro, não parece que a média das opiniões do grupo que contribui para a pesquisa concorda com o grupo que assinou a “Carta aberta a Bernanke” solicitando a suspensão do QE2!