The Fed has committed itself to maintaining its zero interest rate policy as well as quantitative easing for as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent (and inflation rate below 2.5 percent). James Bullard, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, heroically dissents from this policy of unemployment targeting, which is basically a reversion to the crude and discredited Old Keynesian doctrine. In a speech last month entitled “Some Unpleasant Implications for Unemployment Targeters”, Bullard, himself a New Keynesian inflation targeter, stated:
Attempts to address the various labor market inefficiencies solely with monetary policy do not work very well because improvements on one dimension are simultaneously detriments on other dimensions. . . . monetary policy alone cannot effectively address multiple labor market inefficiencies, and so one must turn to more direct labor market policies to address those problems.
Unfortunately, President Bullard did not articulate those “more direct labor market policies,” but they would include: the repeal of minimum-wage legislation, which destroys jobs for the unskilled; the repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, which coerces employers into collective bargaining and privileges union “insiders” against non-union “outsiders” causing unemployment or lower wage rates among the latter; and the phasing out of unemployment “insurance,” which encourages unemployed workers to spend an excessive amount of time in “searching” for jobs.
The full PowerPoint presentation of Bullard’s speech can be found here.