Fed's Mandate Is Up to Congress & Prez

Written by Staff Writer

Federal ReserveThe Fed's Mandate Is Up to Congress and the President -Sheldon/Wall Street Journal
"The role of the Federal Reserve as an instrument of public economic power could use some clarification. The central bank's status as an independent agency derives from an act of Congress in 1913, and is reinforced by oft-invoked references to its statutory 'dual mandate': to achieve stable prices and full employment.

But the Fed's job description is more complicated than people usually think. Its purposes have evolved through various legislative changes over the decades, the most notable of which was imposed by Congress in 1977. The Federal Reserve Reform Act, which gave the central bank its current, explicit mandate, named three goals rather than two. The legislation as amended states: 'The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.'....It would be appropriate and constructive for the Fed to consider international monetary stability in its interest-rate decisions. In an era of world-wide currency exchange, America’s central bank should not ignore the effects of movements spurred by other major central banks. With no consistent free-trade principles governing global monetary policy, the Fed must take proactive steps to ensure that the U.S. can compete successfully. It would be in keeping with its historical mandate if the Fed were to pursue a more coordinated relationship with both Congress and the president. When it comes to fulfilling the economic goals authorized by legislative decree, it isn’t seemly for a government agency to be selective."