It is well known that I don’t think much of the ability of government officials to correctly forecast much of anything. Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have made famously clueless predictions with respect to stock and housing bubbles, and rank and file Fed economists have consistently overestimated the strength of the economy ever since their forecasts became public in 2008 (see my previous article on the subject). But there is one former Fed and White House economist who has a slightly better track record...which is really not saying much. Over his public and private career, former Fed Governor and Bush-era White House Chief Economist Larry Lindsey actually got a few things right.
“The public and the political class love to have everything going up. We had “Bubble #1” in the 1990s, “Bubble #2” in the 00s, and now we are in “Bubble #3.” It’s a lot of fun while it’s going up, but no one wants to be accused of ending the party early. But it’s the Fed’s job to take away the punch bowl before the party really gets going.”
“The current Fed Funds rate is clearly too low, the only question is how we move it higher: Do we do it slowly, and start sooner, or do we wait until we are forced to, by the bond market or by events or statistics, in which case we would need to move more quickly. By far the lower risk approach would be to move slowly and gradually.”