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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I listen to the comments around the table, I am of two minds. One, and I have said this before, maybe we ought to be in the business of changing the statement a lot more frequently to get out of some of our traps of time-series language. Two, having said that, though, I think, as I indicated earlier, that alternative B is the correct one. We ought to hold the fed funds rate where it is. We are about in the right place for now. There is some question mark going forward in terms of how things evolve and where we want to be, but for now I am certainly comfortable where we are. If growth returns to trend more rapidly than the Greenbook projects, then we might ask ourselves other questions; but I don’t think we’re there yet. Acknowledging Governor Kohn’s comments, I have to confess that I think that Bill’s comments— indeed, taken off Vince’s—are appropriate. We need to align ourselves here better in terms of where we’re going and what we’re doing. As we get closer, articulating more precisely where we are, at least among ourselves, becomes even more critical. Aligning our objectives with market expectations and figuring out how we get those things into alignment is a critical task that we face, and I just would like to reinforce that.

In terms of wording, I could live perfectly well with alternative B as written. I have a lot of sympathy for President Stern’s statements. I would like to simplify our statements about inflation. In fact, if people are troubled by the notion of uncertainty, I would go so far as to stop after “inflation pressure seemed likely to moderate over time.” I recognize that is probably not the consensus view. As for the rest, I kind of liked the Chairman’s suggestion—I think it was his—on some of the language in section 2. In some ways, if we don’t want to convey much to the markets at this point, changing as little as possible seems to make sense, and I would be supportive of that. In fact, we could take the March statement in section 2 and leave it exactly as it is except to take out “to continue.” But the Chairman’s suggestion about mixed signals would be fine with me, too. So I’m pretty flexible at this point. The real nut to crack will be coming up over the next quarter or two, when we will face some more difficult choices, I believe. So I’ll end with that.

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