Despite his past record as the Federal Reserve's worst economic forecaster, Charles I. Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, is trying to serve as the conscience of what he believes to be a wandering, inconstant Federal Reserve Board of Governors: In Plosser's brief dissent to the Fed's July 30 stay-the-course policy statement, the conservative Plosser, who is skeptical the Fed can do much more for the economy than guide interest rates, urges higher rates (to avoid credit and asset-price distortions) now that unemployment is finally falling. Excerpts:
The economy has improved significantly this year, and inflation and unemployment have moved much closer to the FOMC's longer-term goals. However, neither the pace of the reduction in [Federal Reserve] asset purchases nor its end date has been modified...
Thus, I cast a dissenting vote because I opposed retaining the statement language that reads "…it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends." I viewed such language as an inappropriate characterization of the future path of policy and so may limit the Committee's flexibility going forward.
In December 2013, the FOMC began to taper its asset purchase program, indicating that it was not on a preset course, but that the pace depended on the performance of the economy. The Committee also indicated it was likely that it would be appropriate to maintain the current range of the federal funds rate well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6.5 percent.