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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree with a lot of what I’ve heard around the table. I am certainly open to the idea that we will have to reduce rates at our next meeting at the end of the month. I am not necessarily opposed to that. Even if I were certain of that, though, I do agree with what a lot of people have said already—I don’t think an intermeeting cut is either wise or appropriate at this point. As a general proposition, I oppose the idea of intermeeting cuts unless a really immediate action is necessary to deal with some severe crisis such as September 11 or something of the like. I am not going to reiterate all the concerns that others have shared about the risk of an intermeeting cut; I don’t really want to belabor that. I do think, though, that I would just add one point. Even if we were aggressive now, it is not going to get us off the hook later. I am afraid that, if we took an aggressive cut today, an intermeeting cut, the markets would respond by just wanting even more going further out. I’m not sure that we want to put ourselves into that bind. Nor do I want us to be perceived as responding to near- term numbers or other pressures from the market. So I am definitely open to further cuts at the end of the month. I share your concern about the economy. It certainly has taken on a sour note in recent data. But I also would note that we are going to get a lot more data between now and the end of the month that will help us sort through perhaps the severity or the dimensions of the slowdown. I would certainly like to have those in hand before I make a final decision.

We are in a bind. I share the view, or at least I’m sympathetic to the view, that aggressive cuts in the context of declining demand are supportive. But I also share the view of President Lacker that, although we may want to take accommodation back quickly, the history of this institution is that it doesn’t do that very well. Given the forecast that the staff has provided us, I think that is going to be very difficult. I worry that, if such a scenario comes to pass and we need to take it back, we will not act promptly enough. Certainly, we all can say that now, as we are making the cuts and supplying the accommodation; but I worry that, when the time comes to remove it, we will be reluctant to do so. Having said that, I am sympathetic about the concerns. My outlook is certainly weaker than it was a few weeks ago, but I would not like to see us do something today. I will leave it at that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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