Does the Fed have a handle on inflation?
*The Wall Street Journal, by Jon Hilsenrath, April 5, 2010
”The Federal Reserve’s decisions to keep interest rates near zero and to flood the financial system with credit are sparking fears of an eventual outbreak of inflation.
But inside the Fed, an influential band of policy makers is fretting over the opposite: that the already-low rate of inflation is slowing further.
The heated debate at the Federal Reserve over whether if, and by how much, inflation is slowing will determine when the Fed decides to raise rates, Jon Hilsenrath reports.
The presidents of the New York and San Francisco regional Fed banks, William Dudley and Janet Yellen, see the abating inflation rate as convincing evidence the economy still is burdened by excess capacity and needs to be sustained by the Fed.
Others, led by Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, argue that current inflation measures are distorted by an epic decline in housing costs and could mask a buildup of inflationary pressures.
This intensifying internal Fed debate over the behavior of inflation comes as the central bank plots an exit from an unprecedented experiment in easy money.”
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