Fed members claim to care equally about the employment and inflation sides of their mandate, yet the unemployment rate has been at least 2 percentage points above the FOMC's estimated natural unemployment rate for nearly 4 straight years while inflation has scarcely wandered more than a half percentage point away from target since late 2009. Fed members claim that the 2% target is not a ceiling, but inflation has been below 2% much more often than it has been above it over the past 4 years, inflation is projected to be at most 2% in 2013 and 2014, and inflation is projected to be substantiallybelow 2% in 2012. In other words, the Fed is actively pursuing a policy of disinflation despite the fact that annual inflation is roughly at target while unemployment is well above its structural rate. That is, the Fed has gone from merely failing at its job toaggressively failing at its job.
Second, it is difficult to pin blame for this on anyone other than Chairman Ben Bernanke. The June policy vote ran 11-1, suggesting that Mr Bernanke is not getting the most expansionary policy for which he can find a majority. One is forced to conclude that this is the policy, and by extension the recovery, that Mr Bernanke wants.