Why doesn´t Martin Feldstein take a hike?

MF is back at his favorite subject: US inflation:

The Federal Reserve now faces the tough task of unwinding the easy-money policy that has helped bring about the current solid economic upturn. But its projected path for increasing the short-term federal-funds rate over the next few years is dangerously slow. Most members of the Federal Open Market Committee want the real interest rate to be negative at the end of 2015 and approximately zero at the end of 2016. Only in 2017 would the real fed-funds rate even exceed 1%.

Overall unemployment now is 5.5%. This has historically been regarded as about the lowest rate that can be sustained without starting an inflation spiral. The Fed is nevertheless projecting that its policies will cause unemployment to decline to 5% by the end of 2015 and even lower in the next two years. Historical experience suggests that means inflation would eventually increase year after year.

And on he goes, wrong on all counts!

But his views have become a stale joke. Six years ago [April 09], for example, he saw “inflation looming”:

The US last week showed its first signs of deflation for 55 years, prompting inevitable fears of further deflation in the future. Yet the primary reason for the negative rate of US inflation is the dramatic 30 per cent fall of commodity prices. That will not happen again [what certainty]. Moreover, excluding food and energy, consumer prices are up 1.8 per cent from a year ago. That is the good news: the outlook for the longer term is more ominous.

However, we know commodity and oil prices have fallen again – headline inflation is again courting negative rates while core prices are now up only 1.4% –  and the (inflation) outlook is anything but ominous! That´s not just hindsight. MF had (and has) only a few inflation-nutters of this caliber riding along.

3 thoughts on “Why doesn´t Martin Feldstein take a hike?

  1. OT: Reuters is reporting that two of my favorite targets, I mean economists, are advising the Jeb Bush campaign – Hubbard and Warsh. I’m on my iPad and so no links, but though you might be interested.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s