APIA - Benko in Forbes: Federal Reserve Policy Suppresses Wage Increases

Dear Monetary Policy Observer,


This recent Forbes.com article by APIA Senior Economics Adviser Ralph Benko focuses on an observation in center left online magazine Quartz that Fed policy has aimed for decades to suppress wage increases, which it considers a “red flag” for inflation.  Benko points out the Paul Volcker advocates attaching monetary policy to a rule.  Benko believes that this would allow Fed Chair Janet Yellen to pursue her goal of rising real wages without starting a wage-price spiral.




Nicholas Arnold

American Principles In Action



“Income inequality” is a crude, and twisted, heuristic for stagnant median family income.   “Income inequality” does not really resonate with voters, as noted by the Washington Post‘s own Catherine Rampell, with a mountain of evidence showing that Americans don’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth, just are frustrated at the lack of widespread economic opportunity.


So let’s get down to cases.  Stagnant median family income is not the GOP’s fault.  It’s the Fed who done it.


The Atlantic Media Company’s Quartz recently claimed that the Fed has been intentionally keeping a lid on wages.  This has potentially major political implications.  Among other things, this view would allow the Republicans to push the discourse back toward the real problem, wage stagnation.  It can serve to refocus the Congress on the real solution, restoring real, rule-based, integrity to monetary policy as a way to get America moving again.


A culpable Fed gives irony to the fact that it is the Democrats that protect the Fed as if it were the Holy of Holies of the Temple.  What if, as asserted in Quartz, the Fed, by policy, and not the GOP, is the source of wage stagnation?  This opens an opportunity for the GOP to parry the political narrative of “income inequality” and feature the real issue on the mind of the voters and forthrightly to address its core cause, poor monetary policy.


[…] Madame Yellen stated that “It would be a grave mistake for the Fed to commit to conduct monetary policy according to a mathematical rule.”  Contrast Madame Yellen’s protest with a recent speech by Paul Volcker in which he forthrightly stated: “By now I think we can agree that the absence of an official, rules-based cooperatively managed, monetary system has not been a great success.  In fact, international financial crises seem at least as frequent and more destructive in impeding economic stability and growth. … Not a pretty picture.”


Read the Full Article Here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2014/09/15/fed-policy-gives-the-impression-that-the-central-bank-loathes-the-american-worker/