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

Thank you very much. I’m relatively happy with the statement. Along the lines that Presidents Yellen and Moskow discussed, I would try to stay away as much as possible from forward-looking language or commitments. There’s a time and a place—2003 going forward: Moving from 1 percent up was a unique occurrence, I think. So I would really focus the statement, as we mostly do now, on what we did and why we did it. Why we did it has a forward-looking component to it. It has to depend on what we expect the economy to look like in the future and where we expect inflation to go. Something referencing both of those things has to be in there. If I had my druthers, I’d be agnostic about whether or not we do an assessment of risk each and every time; rather, consider what that adds to or possibly subtracts from in terms of the statement. So I wouldn’t be committed to doing a section 4 each and every time. It’s really good, to the extent we can do it, to stay away from formulaic language and to focus the statement as much as we can on what the realities are at the time of what we did and why we did it.

In terms of process, with anything edited by nineteen people, the process is not always optimal. Getting a little sense of where the staff is the week before is helpful. It has allowed people, myself included, from time to time to weigh in, to actually be heard before the meeting and to make some changes to the draft statement that we look at in the meeting. I can understand the desire not to do too much editing around the table. However, I thought that one of the reasons that we went to more two-day meetings was so we could all get a read on what others were saying and thinking on the one day, think about it and any implications it had for what we said and how we said it overnight, and then bring those thoughts to the table the next day. I always thought that there was a lot of logic to the process and that it probably adds to rather than subtracts from the amount of comments around the table, particularly when you find yourselves in a bit of a tenuous or dicey situation with regard to how to characterize how people are feeling about things. So I think I’d be willing to bear a little more noise around the table rather than a little less.

On the governance issues, I think this started as the Chairman’s statement because nobody had the stomach for nineteen people editing. So it was better to let it be the Chairman’s statement, and therefore we didn’t have the right to edit it. Now, of course, we edit it, so it doesn’t seem reasonable to me not to vote on the entire statement. I think it’s easy enough to make that change. The whole thing is so esoteric anyway that I can’t imagine that anybody aside from us knows that we don’t vote on it or has even focused on it. The idea that people are going to dissent on the statement? We’re not dissenting on policy. I find it difficult to think that dissenting on the statement is going to be a big issue, but it is always possible, I suppose. Were there any other governance issues? I think I probably said this. The current approval process is difficult; but given the ability to look at some form of a draft the week before, to be able to think overnight, and provide some substance to the editing process the next day, I think it works okay.

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