Explaining the Fed Credibility Argument

Following up on my last post, I actually think that there are two possible explanations for the “Fed Credibility” argument’s wide deployment, both hinted at in Simon’s response to my comment:

I think the credibility argument is really about the underlying motives of the policymakers, rather than their abilities. However I also think that argument is overdone – it takes a few generations to forget the lessons of the past, and policymakers are still obsessed with the 1970s.

In my words, two possibilites:

1. It’s a smokescreen. Actual reason: Creditors hate (unexpected) inflation. One extra percentage point transfers hundreds of billions of dollars of buying power from creditors to debtors, annually. ‘Nuf to get a fellow’s attention. The Fed is run by creditors.

2. (70s) They actually are worried — that the higher inflation target won’t work in goosing the economy or employment, so they’ll run into a stagflation situation where stomping on (spiraling?) inflation is…problematic. So they won’t be able to fulfill the second half of their promise without causing a job recession a la Volcker. Rock and a hard place.

Cross-posted at Asymptosis.