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So dread dissent is rising in within the hallowed halls of Ben Bernanke’s fabulous marble treehouse: Time to send out some underlings to twist some arms.
“The Fed’s dual mandate from Congress is to pursue maximum employment and price stability. We are missing on both of these goals… Unemployment is far too high and inflation is too low,” said San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams.
As a result, Williams, who is not a voting member of the Fed’s policy-setting committee this year, said the U.S. economy needs “powerful and continuing” policy stimulus.
“I anticipate that purchases of mortgage-backed securities and longer-term Treasury securities will be needed well into the second half of this year,” he said in remarks prepared for delivery to The Forecasters Club in New York.
St. Louis Fed Pres James Bullard, whose only famous namesake appears to be a marginal retired British soccer player, goes the other John Williams one better. Not just well into the second half: “for a long time.” No one’s going to call Bullard, who does serve on the FOMC this year, a dissident.
“Fed policy is very easy, and it’s going to stay easy for a long time,” Bullard said in an interview today on CNBC television. “That’s my main message this morning….”
“The idea of tapering the program at some point in the future may be gaining steam on the committee,” Bullard said. “The committee should acknowledge gradual improvement when we see it or when we think we see it, and then gradually taper back the program.”