by Mario Rizzo
In today’s Wall Street Journal frequent contributor to ThinkMarkets, Jerry O’Driscoll, has an important opinion piece, “Why the Fed Is Not Independent.”
There has been much discussion recently of the importance of “preserving” Fed independence. But is the Fed independent? Independent of what? Jerry concentrates on the link between the Fed’s monetary policy and the Treasury’s fiscal policy. Consider:
Today, however one parses the term, the Federal Reserve is not now independent. It has voluntarily relinquished the very independence it secured in 1951 by entering into a modern version of the bond support program. That is what the so-called zero interest rate policy amounts to, reinforced by the quantitative easing implemented through QE1 and QE2.
The Fed is committed to holding interest rates at a very low level by purchasing as much Treasury debt as necessary to maintain those interest rates. That is precisely the position the Fed found itself in before the 1951 accord.
Monetary policy once again is not independent of fiscal policy. None of the Fed’s critics can do as much harm to the institution’s independence as it has done to itself.
The whole article is quite interesting. It raises importance questions not only of economics but of politics as well.