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December 31, 2014

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Posted: 31 Dec 2014 12:06 AM PST

'Musings on 25-54 Employment-to-Population Rates and the Macroeconomy'

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 10:04 AM PST

Brad DeLong:

Musings on 25-54 Employment-to-Population Rates and the Macroeconomy: (1) If the US economy were operating at its productive potential, the share of 25 to 54-year-olds who are employed ought to be what it was at the start of 2000. Back then there were few visible pressures leading to rising inflation in the economy.
Does anybody disagree with that?
(2) Right now, 25 to 54-year-olds–both male and female–are employed at a rate lower by 5%-age points then they were at the start of 2000. That's 6.5%, or 1/15, more 25-54 labor at work than we have today.
Does anybody disagree with that? ...

That's just the start (too hard to excerpt effectively -- there are three more points followed by two questions, five more points, then two more questions).

'How Morgan Stanley Pushed Risky Subprime Mortgage Lending'

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 10:04 AM PST

Danielle Kurtzleben, vox.com:

Damning court filings show Morgan Stanley pushed risky subprime mortgage lending:
  • Court filings say Morgan Stanley, a major Wall Street bank, pushed subprime lender New Century into making riskier and riskier mortgage loans, the New York Times reports.
  • The filings include damning emails, showing that Morgan Stanley employees knew about and even joked about some borrowers' inability to pay on their mortgages.
  • The Justice Department is now investigating the connection between Morgan Stanley and New Century.
  • The fines further tarnish the reputation of a big bank that, despite its heavy involvement in mortgage-backed securities, until recently had few crisis-related legal troubles.

...

'Asymmetric Credibility at the Fed and Price-Level Targeting'

Posted: 30 Dec 2014 10:04 AM PST

Jared Bernstein:

Asymmetric Credibility at the Fed and Price-Level Targeting: While we in the US don't have the disinflation (positive but declining rates of inflation) problem facing the Eurozone, our benchmark inflation rate has consistently undershot its mark. The Federal Reserve target for the core PCE deflator is 2%, year-over-year, and yet it hasn't hit that growth rate even once since April of 2012. Since then, the average rate of PCE core inflation is 1.5% (Euro area core inflation was last seen growing at 0.6%).
Note also that the 2% is a target, not a ceiling (though there's often ambiguity around this), meaning if you've been below for a while, it's consistent with hitting your target rate on average to be above it for a while as well.
And yet, the question of whether the Fed is adequately meeting the "stable prices" part of its dual mandate (the other part is, of course, full employment) seems almost uniformly to be whether it's keeping inflation from going above 2%. In other words, the Fed's inflation credibility is asymmetric: they only lose credibility points for going above 2%.
As a policy matter for a healthy economy, this is wrong...

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