Sunday, February 7, 2016

Did you hear the one about the Fed?

Who says there's nothing funny about the economy? A web site charts the number of laughs recorded at FOMC meetings from 2000-2006, and finds the humor peaked at the same time housing prices did.

Did you hear the one about the Fed?

0 comments

There’s nothing funny about the real estate downturn.

Nor is there anything particularly humorous about the apparent inability of the Fed Open Market Committee to get a handle on how housing problems would take down  the whole economy, a fact that became widely known when the panel’s 2006 minutes were made available http://goo.gl/TpUoY.

One thing I did notice as I read  minutes of some of the FOMC meetings was the number of times the committee members laughed.

Here’s an example from the March 2006, at which chairman Ben Bernanke discussed procedures for taking questions from members in what is known as the “first go-round” on the economic outlook:

“First, I will take the liberty of intervening occasionally and raising a question and asking for comment. Second, and this is a risky thing, I’m going to ask for two-handed interventions \[laughter\]. If you would like to comment or ask a question about a colleague’s remarks, please raise two hands and you’ll be recognized to make short remarks \[or\] to be perhaps responded to. This process may work to well \[laughter\].”

Funny stuff, huh? The Daily Stag Hunt, a web site, has published a piece titled “The Correlation of Laughter at FOMC Meetings” http://goo.gl/9VDrw, which tracks the laughter from 2000 to 2006 — a period that featured the laugh-a-minute antics of former chairman Alan Greenspan — including a table of yuks recorded at each committee meeting and a graphic showing that the guffaws peaked in 2006, the same time as the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Alan J. Heavens blogs about home improvement and the real estate industry and hosts regular chats on those topics. Reach Alan J. at aheavens@phillynews.com.

Alan J. Heavens Inquirer Real Estate Columnist
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter