Should the Fed Declare Defeat and Move On?

The Wall Street Journal suggests a shift in the Federal Reserve’s focus towards higher inflation targets. While current efforts aim to stabilize inflation below 3%, a target above 2% might be more beneficial as it could help cushion the economy against severe downturns. This, however, raises concerns about the real benefits of inflation. Historically, routine consumer price deflation has been seen as beneficial. However, central bankers’ attempts to combat it have resulted in damaging asset bubbles. Economists often overlook asset inflation, focusing primarily on consumer inflation, leading to continuous problems. The debate around inflation expectations is also under scrutiny, with many viewing it as a flawed theory. Despite these criticisms, there’s a push for higher inflation targets, echoing similar “temporary” measures in the past, such as Nixon abandoning the gold standard in 1971. This shift emphasizes the ongoing value of gold in turbulent economic times.