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

Let me say just a few things. First of all, the freedom of individual members to speak is a very important value. We are not trying in any way to suppress that. Second, I agree with Governor Mishkin that the education process is very important. Third, I would say that past positions are past positions, and no one is asking anyone to repudiate anything. I think the response of President Hoenig is perfectly appropriate—to acknowledge the issue, to acknowledge the arguments on both sides, and to acknowledge even your own past positions. The only point is to avoid actively taking strong, specific positions on particular issues that are really up for debate in the Committee. I think that we as a Committee would agree, for example, that good communication is very important and that there are arguments on both sides of inflation targeting. But, as Governor Kohn said, we do want to make sure that the atmosphere within the Committee is conducive to getting agreement. Then I and others will have to explain this to the Congress and others, and we want to make sure that they haven’t heard different positions that, in fact, do not reflect what we come out with. So please don’t overstate what we’re discussing here. I mean, we’re not asking for anything like “mum’s the word,” but simply requesting that you have some perspective on the vigor with which you advocate specific positions over the next few months. President Minehan.

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