Friday, June 23, 2006

Niskanen on Monetary Policy

Bill Niskanen's piece in today's Wall Street Journal concludes as follows:
Mr. Bernanke and other members of the FOMC should stop speculating about future changes in the Fed funds rate. They could provide a lot of useful information to the financial markets, however, if they were more explicit about the conditions that affect their decisions on the Fed funds rate.
The distinction between speculation and useful information is less clear to me than it is to Bill. As soon as any Fed official starts providing the useful information that Bill wants, Fed watchers ask themselves what this useful information means for the next Fed decision. I am not sure how one would ever operationalize Bill's advice.