Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Obviously, for us to counteract the powerful forces that are weakening our economy and financial markets, we should provide maximum monetary policy stimulus as quickly as possible, and conducting monetary policy on the basis of a fed funds rate target is no longer the best strategy. I do think it is time and it would be helpful to begin focusing the public’s attention on the unconventional approach to monetary policy, and I think alternative A does a better job of doing that.
What I like about alternative A is its straightforward characterization of the policy situation and how we plan to respond to it. I support leaving in the language that is bracketed in alternative A, paragraph 2, about the risk that inflation could decline for some time below rates that best foster economic growth and price stability. The reason I say that is that we have been using the language that the Committee expects inflation to moderate for some time now, and given the discussion, I think we expect that situation to be getting worse. So I would support leaving that in. I would also leave in paragraph 3 the more forward-looking language about keeping the low level of the fed funds rate for some time. I also would keep in the language on the potential benefits of purchasing longer-term Treasury securities. I assume that the minutes that are released in three weeks are going to say that we discussed it and that we will be evaluating it. So I would just leave it in. Also, given the dire economic outlook that we are talking about and the aggressive response that we think monetary policy should take, I think just saying merely that we stand ready to expand the purchase of agency debt and mortgage-backed securities isn’t aggressive enough. I do realize that there are a lot of important questions that are left unanswered, such as determining the mix of assets to purchase and how to know when enough is enough, and then how to shrink our balance sheet when the time comes. But I do think that adopting alternative A is taking a big step in the direction of giving the public some indication of what we plan to do.
Finally, I know you just said that we will come up with some language and some framework around what we are doing. But as discussed in yesterday’s conversation, having some talking points even in the near term so that we are consistent in our language on what we are doing would be helpful. At a time when there is a lot of confusion out there and markets are as fragile as they are, having us all talk about this in the same way would be helpful. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.