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The Recession

On March 4th the Federal Reserve published the complete transcripts of the 11 policy-making meetings the Fed held during 2009. During the early part of the year, the Fed continued with the bold measures it initiated in 2008 to arrest the financial crisis, and by the summer it had mostly succeeded. Economist determined later that the economy had stopped shrinking in June, and the next major task was how the Fed could support and help the economy recover. The transcripts have been released, after the normal 5 year delay, and give an account of the deliberations by former chairman Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, the current chairwomen, and all branch presidents. Here is a link containing the brief overview of what have been deemed the important decisions/minutes.


  1. Stephen Moore Stephen Moore

    I wonder how Yellen will use the lessons learned from the 2008 Financial Crisis to influence the Fed’s policy moving forward.

  2. deplautt deplautt

    I wonder what the reasoning behind the 5 year delay is. Is there something to be said about the transparency or lack thereof by the Fed?

  3. sandersm15 sandersm15

    The 5 year delay, in addition to the lack of transparency, prevents accountability for the Fed. For instance, the transcript shows the testimonies of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who concluded his duties with the Fed more than a full YEAR ago.

  4. If transcripts are released immediately, then the FOMC will cease to be a place where give-and-take occurs; real discussion will be stifled. It would turn the Fed (or more precisely, the FOMC) into a political football, and we really don’t want grandstanding politicians running monetary policy. Obama in general seems to defer to the Fed, implicitly if not explicitly, by not opining on monetary policy. But a number of Republican party hopefuls are outright loony on the issue, holding up the comments in passing of characters in an Ayn Rand novel of the 1950s as providing a how-to manual on the operation of monetary policy today. These are the same people who have been predicting hyperinflation for the past 7 years.

    So while part of the power of monetary policy comes from shaping expectations, I’m not sure that releasing transcripts immediately would be constructive. However, there are now central banks (including the Bank of Japan) that are considerably more transparent (quick publication of full transcripts). That takes place in a different political context, but does it lead to superior outcomes? To my knowledge, no. It instead locks members of the Monetary Policy Board into positions. Absent the release of transcripts, they might be more pragmatic.

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