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What Powers for the Federal Reserve?


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  • Martin Feldstein
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    In this essay, I explain my reasons for the following policy recommendations: (1) The Fed should continue to manage monetary policy as it has in the past, should act as the nation's lender of last resort, should fully supervise the large bank holding companies and their subsidiary banks, and should be given resolution authority over the institutions that it supervises. (2) While a council of supervisors and regulators can play a useful role in dealing with macro prudential risks, it should not replace the central role of the Federal Reserve. (3) The virtually unlimited lending powers that the Fed has recently exercised in creating credit and helping individual institutions should be restricted in duration and subjected to formal Treasury approval backed by Congressional preauthorization of funds. (4) The Fed's capital rules for commercial banks need to be strengthened by replacing the existing risk-based capital approach with a broader definition of risk and the introduction of contingent capital. (5) Subjecting mortgage lending to a broader range of Federal Reserve regulations and allowing the Fed to deal with nonbank creators of mortgage products would be better than the creation of a new consumer financial protection organization. (JEL E52, E58, G21, G28)

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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

    Volume (Year): 48 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 134-145

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:48:y:2010:i:1:p:134-145

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.48.1.134
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    Cited by:
    1. Bennett T. McCallum, 2011. "Should central banks raise their inflation targets? Some relevant issues," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 2Q, pages 111-131.
    2. Pei-Tha Gan, 2014. "The Optimal Economic Uncertainty Index: A Grid Search Application," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 159-182, February.
    3. Irfan Akbar Kazi & Hakimzadi Wagan & Farhan Akbar, 2012. "The changing international transmission of US monetary policy shocks: is there evidence of contagion effect on OECD countries," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-27, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
    4. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
    5. Born, Benjamin & Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2010. "Macroprudential policy and central bank communication," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8094, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.


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