Book Tracks Federal Reserve Hubris
Booth says many books about the Fed’s actions following the financial crisis have been written to make Fed officials look as good as possible because they are often written by the principals themselves.
A former Fed adviser in Dallas has criticized central bank economists for not understanding economics. Danielle DiMartino Booth was a financial journalist who warned about a real estate crash due to overly low interest rates.
She was hired as an adviser to Richard Fisher, a former president of the Dallas Fed, who felt similarly when it came to rates. Over time she became his eyes and ears in examining Fed policy and criticizing it.
Now she has written a book,”Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America,” that has has just come available.
Federal Reserve economists use theoretical models to form their monetary policy decisions, which she says led them to miss the forces that contributed to the financial crisis. After the crisis, she says the Fed implemented the wrong remedies to revive the economy.
“Global systemic risk has been exponentially amplified by the Fed’s actions,” Booth says. “Who will pay when this credit bubble bursts? The poor and middle class, not the elites.”
For Ms. Booth, slow-moving Fed economists will inevitably miss what’s really going on and substitute low interest rates for other solutions. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen and former Fed leader Ben Bernanke are two of the slow moving acadmics that come in for criticism.
The Wall Street Journal did a review that tied the book into a push “for more diversity at the central bank. … A broader range of educational and professional backgrounds also would widen the central bank’s perspective.”
This seems to be missing the point of the book which is, as we understand it, that the problems of the Fed are primarily content based. “Ms. Booth’s arguments echo those of her former boss, who led the Dallas Fed from 2005 to 2015, and frequently voted against the central bank’s aggressive stimulus efforts during and after the financial crisis.”
Fisher himself praised the book, saying it showed the benefits of having someone from the outside come in to highlight what had gone wrong.
“All the books that have been written so far” about the financial crisis “have been written by the principals themselves,” and it’s natural for those authors to make themselves look as good as possible,” he said.
The hubris and protected status of Fed bankers are part of what has gone wrong at the Fed. But it’s more than that. Fisher may not want to deal with it but the Fed is a truly useless organization. On every level it interferes with the economy without making it any better.
In fact it cannot make it better. Humans dictate Fed market moves rather than the market, and thus Fed rates will always be man-made. When Fed rates are dictated by man rather than by markets, the result must inevitably be disastrous, sooner or later.
It has largely fallen away from the public debate, but the actual solution to the Fed’s problems lie in getting rid of it, not fixing it. There is no way it can be fixed because the Fed constantly substitutes human judgments for market based ones.
This approach cannot be made right. The Fed and other central banks hand over guidence to top bankers, many of whom populate London’s City. Thus central banking is a control mechanism rather than a financial solution.
Conclusion: If you really want to change the Fed, get rid of it.