The Jackson Hole Fed Confab: Worse Than You Thought

A Benjamin Cole post

The financial media did a reasonable job in covering the Kansas City Fed’s recent Jackson Hole bias-confirmation fest, duly reporting that the Fed may raise rates, that everybody talked ceaselessly about raising rates, and of the extraordinary reasoning brought to bear to tease out some sort of reason to hike interest rates.

But the popular media did not print the Jackson Hole meeting schedule. A synopsis of the schedule speaks volumes. Here it is:

Friday August 28

8:00am  Inflation Dynamics Through Firms’ Pricing Behavior

9:00 am  International Aspects of Inflation Dynamics

10:25 am Central Bank Perspectives on Inflation Dynamics

Saturday August 29

8:00 am Reinflation Challenges and the Inflation: Targeting Paradigm

9:00 am Inflation Dynamics During and After The Zero Lower Bound

10:25 am Overview Panel: Global Inflation Dynamics

There you have it—not single panel devoted to, say, the strange esoteric topic of macroeconomic growth.  The word “inflation” is literally in every panel title.

Now, with aggregate demand feeble and inflation dead in the United States, deader in Europe, and long dead in Japan, you might think “inflation dynamics” would be a passé topic.

Evidently not when central bankers convene. Indeed, “inflation dynamics” is of over-arching, all-consuming and riveting interest. There is nothing else to talk about—at least at Jackson Hole.

Egads, what does that tell you?

7 thoughts on “The Jackson Hole Fed Confab: Worse Than You Thought

  1. I’m going to write my Congressperson.

    Seriously.

    So far I’m seeing virtually no discussion of 401(k)s.

    My husband tells me his parents saved for retirement by buying CDs with interest rates at 8%. They didn’t “play the market,” which is what investing in stocks was then called.

    The only way for people with 401(k)s to save for retirement is to put “savings” in index funds.

    Worse yet, when pension funds lose money in stocks, the public has to make up the loss. People with 401(K)s take a double hit.

    88 million Americans have 401(k)s.

    And we’ve got the Federal Reserve talking the market down.

    Wish I worked for the Fed…. http://www.frbsf.org/our-district/careers/the-fed-and-you-your-benefits/

    • Cijohn–
      If you want to work for the Fed try to get on in the Dallas Fed branch. Excellent benefits; excellent cafeteria and campus, superb retirement benefits. They will even pay for your education. If you are looking for yield perhaps look into some timber REITs. But the Fed may snuff out returns on those investments also.

  2. O/T: From Cochrane’s latest:

    “So, face it, the outcomes we desire from monetary policy are just about perfect. We don’t really know how this happened, but we should savor it while it lasts.”

  3. “Egads, what does that tell you?”

    It tells you these people are stuck in the past, and don’t read blogs!

    Obsessing over inflation, would be like the French in 1940 worrying about how to counter the English longbow. Get with the program! We need growth! Stable and predictable nominal growth!

    • Stanley Fischer was abducted by aliens. They brought him to their home planet, a technological marvel. Fischer asked, “What is your rate of inflation?”

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