Monday, April 30, 2012

Jim Grant Speaks His Mind

Jim Grant speaks.
But will the N.Y. Fed listen?
(March 23, 2012)

[excerpts from "Piece of My Mind":]

"As you prepare to mark the Fed's centenary, may I urge you to reflect on just how far you have wandered from the intentions of the founders? The institution they envisioned would operate passively, through the discount window. It would not create credit but rather liquefy the existing stock of credit by turning good-quality commercial bills into cash— temporarily. This it would do according to the demands of the seasons and the cycle. The Fed would respond to the community, not try to anticipate or lead it. It would not override the price mechanism— as today's Fed seems to do at every available opportunity—but yield to it....

I myself draw more instruction from the depression of 1920-21, a slump as ugly and steep in its way as that of 1929-33, but with the simple and interesting difference that it ended...No TARP, no starving the savers with zero-percent interest rates, no QE, no jimmying up the stock market, no federal 'stimulus' of any kind. Yet—I repeat—the depression ended...[President] Harding's approach worked. The price mechanism is truer and enterprise hardier than the promoters of radical 21st-century intervention seem prepared to acknowledge.

In notable contrast to the Harding method, today's policies seem not to be working. We legislate and regulate and intervene, but still the patient languishes. It's a worldwide failure of the institutions of money and credit."

Full speech here.

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