The Future of the Fed

Surrounding Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s first ever press conference following a monetary policy meeting, hear from noted experts who provided insight into the challenges the Fed faces and the paths it could take.

* Scroll down to view video content from the first event!

* Click here to find out about the 2nd Session of "The Future of the Fed", held in DC on Monday, May 9th.

Background

As controversy continues over the Federal Reserve's programs and policies, many questions persist as to whether the Fed is up for the challenge. In the wake of the Great Recession, how should the Fed be reformed to prevent the next crisis? Can it manage its dual objectives of full employment and inflation fighting? Can it normalize its balance sheet post-crisis?

The April 27th event in New York City was the first of two sessions co-hosted by the Roosevelt Institute and the New America Foundation on the 'Future of the Fed'. The first session in New York focused on monetary policy and global capital flows. The second session, on accountability, consumer protection, and the future of financial regulation, took place on May 9 in Washington, DC.


 

Agenda

Click here to download the four sets of powerpoints slides used in the conference

Introduction
Andrew Rich, CEO, Roosevelt Institute
Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, Roosevelt Institute
 
In opening the event, Nobel Laureate and Roosevelt’s Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz and CEO Andrew Rich talked about how the financial crisis has irrevocably changed Washington’s approach to monetary policy and called on progressives to actively engage in this dialogue.

“What we’ve learned is that the actions some thought would promote growth actually led to this historic financial crisis, the effects of which will be long-lasting,” said Stiglitz, who just last week was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. “Clearly the Fed’s future role needs to extend beyond simply keeping inflation low.”

"Despite recent job growth, uncertainty surrounding our economic future remains pervasive," said Roosevelt Institute CEO Rich in introducing the event. "The Federal Reserve will remain largely responsible for overseeing a dynamic, stable, and sustainable economy, but it is yet to be seen if it is up for the task—and exactly what that task should be."

 
Panel One: The Federal Reserve Now
Matthew Yglesias, Center for American Progress
Joe Gagnon, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Dennis Kelleher, Better Markets
Joerg Bibow, Skidmore College, Levy Institute
Moderator: Mike Konczal, Roosevelt Institute
 
The first panel talked about the current challenges surrounding the Federal Reserve—from full employment to financial reform. "One lesson of the financial crisis is how important the Federal Reserve is to the economy and how much liberals and progressives need to engage with it," said Konczal. "Conservatives are organizing against it, and I believe it is time progressives and liberals start to play offense."

Click here to see videos from the first panel divided by speaker

 

Panel Two: The Federal Reserve Throughout History
Perry Mehrling, Columbia University
Tim Canova, Chapman University
Jeff Madrick, Roosevelt Institute
Elizabeth Renuart, Albany School of Law
Moderator: Matt Stoller, Roosevelt Institute
 
The second panel looked at the Federal Reserve over the 20th century and how it has adapted to deal with different political and economic realities. It discussed how the Fed has changed in the past and will change in the future to respond to new circumstances. The consensus from the panel was that this is entirely appropriate and it is essential that liberals get involved in shaping it.

“The Fed cannot do its job properly without full employment as one of its key objectives,” said Madrick. “In truth, it has neglected this role now for 30 years.”

Click here to see videos from the second panel divided by speaker

 

Panel Three: The Future of Federal Reseserve
Jane D’Arista, PERI, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Gerald Epstein, PERI, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Thomas Palley, New America Foundation
Moderator: Rob Johnson, Roosevelt Institute
 
The final panel looked to potential issues that the Federal Reserve will face down the line—from financial regulation as a macroeconomic issue to capital controls to inflation targeting to the battle for full employment, and the debates surrounding these topics.

“As we move forward it is vital for the Federal Reserve to regain the trust of the American people by clearly revealing how it will use its balance sheet, and the associated fiscal risks that will be incurred by the American taxpayers, in the event of another financial crisis and bailout,” said Johnson. “The new communications strategy on which the Fed is embarking today may be a step in the right direction.”

“The Federal Reserve needs to become more intellectually pluralistic to avoid a repeat of the 'group think' that contributed to its pre-crisis blindness,” said Palley. “Its inflation target should be set to attain the maximum sustainable rate of employment. And the Fed must also apply quantitative balance sheet controls to the financial sector (including shadow banks) to prevent future financial excess.”

Click here to see videos from the third panel divided by speaker

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