By David E. Lindsey
A narrative heritage by way of a Fed insider of the way financial coverage is formed within the US, with distinctive emphasis at the performances of former Chairman Ben Bernanke and present Chairwoman Janet Yellen in dealing with the prelude, outbreak, and aftermath of the 2008 monetary crisis.
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Additional info for A Century of Monetary Policy at the Fed: Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, and the Financial Crisis of 2008
5 Strong encouraged a program of open market purchases in 1927 to stem a gold drain from Europe. But as Adolph Miller would later emphasize, the policy easing 22 ● A Century of Monetary Policy at the Fed to help Britain to stay on the gold standard also stimulated speculation in the stock market. Robert L. Hetzel wrote: The stock market boom in the last half of the 1920s prompted the next instance of purposeful deflation after 1919–1920. In the 1920s, gold inflows rather than advances from the discount window became the primary source of Federal Reserve credit.
The Fed then would have injected much more nonborrowed reserves into the banking system earlier in the 1930s, thereby easing liquidity conditions and lowering short rates more and faster from their peaks in 1929. Such actions would have stimulated private spending and lessened the severity of the later bank panics. But before February 1932 the Fed instead failed to make large-scale purchases of securities in the open market. And after short-rates finally had been driven to zero in mid-1932 when the Fed ceased sizable open market purchases, the ongoing contractionary forces could not have been restrained by a continuation of sizable open market purchases, as argued above.
The new powers changed the system’s internal organization and operations in the 1930s. 7 In 1936–37 the Board exercised another power granted in the Banking Act of 1935 to double all the required reserve ratios on deposits in three steps. It had become concerned that the quite elevated levels of excess reserves were “superfluous” and potentially inflationary. The first increase became effective in mid-August 1936. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau was furious that he hadn’t been informed of the action in advance.