Tags: Federal Reserve | low | rates | crisis

Economists to WSJ: Fed’s Low Rate Plan May Create Crisis

By    |   Monday, 13 February 2012 12:18 PM

Many economists say that if the Federal Reserve follows through on its plan to keep interest rates near record lows through late 2014, it risks an inflationary crisis.

Of 49 economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, 33 of them said that would be waiting too long to raise rates. Only three said that would be too soon, 11 said that would be just the right time, and two didn't answer.

"If the Fed waited that long, it would be too late. I think the Fed will act before then," Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, tells The Journal.

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The central bank has stressed that the late 2014 date represents just its current intention and isn’t cast in stone. Depending on what the economy does, it can tighten policy earlier or later.

"I don't know why anybody believes the Fed's forecast," Kasriel says. "They didn't see the biggest recession in the postwar era coming."

The Fed is now more worried about economic growth, which registered only 1.6 percent last year, than inflation, which it expects to total only 2 percent or lower through late 2014.

Those who think the Fed already has gone too far in its easing may soon have more to upset them.

“What they’re doing is setting the table for some sort of additional monetary easing,” Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, told Bloomberg after the Fed’s latest policy statement last month.

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