Transcripts of the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve from 2002–2008.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. U.S. economic data have been stronger than expected during the intermeeting period. The earlier, very aggressive moves in January and March taken by the FOMC were viewed in part as insurance against the possibility of a very serious downturn brought on by financial market turmoil. That very serious downturn has not materialized. Tail risk has diminished significantly. This means that this Committee has put too much economic stimulus on the table and must think about ways to remove it going forward. Failure to do so will create a significant inflation problem on top of problems in housing and financial markets. Slack might be helpful, as mentioned by Governor Kohn, but those effects are small compared with expectations effects. I think it is too early to tighten at this meeting. Therefore, I am supporting alternative B with the language proposed by President Plosser. But the Committee has to think carefully about how and when to embark on a path for interest rates that will set us up to achieve price stability in a reasonable time frame. My sense is that this will require more-aggressive tightening of policy than currently envisioned in staff simulations.

Financial market problems have been described here as a slow burn, and I think that may well be an apt description. Many firms in this sector took on too much risk and, in retrospect, had poor business models. I expect that this will take a long time to unwind. Despite this, the systemic risk component of the situation has diminished considerably. Systemic risk is in part a function of the degree of surprise in the failure of a financial institution that was perceived to be in good health. Surely by now few market participants would be surprised to encounter the failure of certain institutions. Failures, should they occur, can be handled in an orderly way. Certain investors would lose out in such an event, to be sure, but my sense is that the panic element that would be associated with systemic risk would not be present. I believe that we should start to downweight systemic risk concerns substantially going forward because it is no longer credible to say that market participants are surprised to learn of problems at certain financial institutions. Thank you.

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