By David E. Lindsey
A narrative historical past by means of a Fed insider of ways financial coverage is formed within the US, with targeted 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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Extra resources for A Century of Monetary Policy at the Fed: Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, and the Financial Crisis of 2008
16 Meltzer explained the Federal Reserve’s ineffectiveness in limiting the severity of the Great Depression by its acceptance of the Burgess-Riefler doctrine. It was named after W. Randolph Burgess and Winfield Riefler—staff members at the New York Reserve Bank and the Board. 17 The operation of that doctrine in practice supplemented and partly supplanted the workings of the gold standard and the real bills doctrine. The Burgess-Riefler doctrine described commercial banks as reluctant to tap the discount window for borrowed reserves.
Section 10, paragraph 10 of the Federal Reserve Act stated: The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall keep a complete record of the action taken by the Board and by the Federal Open Market Committee upon all questions of policy relating to open-market operations and shall record therein the votes taken in connection with the determination of open-market policies and the reasons underlying the action of the Board and the Committee in each instance. The Board shall . . include in its annual report to the Congress .
The banks wanted not only to continue open market sales of Treasury securities but also to raise their discount rates to constrain security lending by commercial banks. The Board, though, denied numerous such requests, on the grounds that business activity in general would be impaired. Instead, it favored public disapproval of stock-market speculation through moral suasion and more direct action in the form of administrative pressure on member banks. Barry Eichengreen recently well summed up the situation: The question then was whether the Fed should raise interest rates in response to the rise in the stock market, in order to prevent development of even more serious financial imbalances and risks.