Did the Fed Cause the Housing Bubble?
Recently the WSJ held a "symposium" on the question. It's interesting that even one of the responders more sympathetic to the Fed had this to say:
I'm not claiming that we should have a Federal Reserve. We simply can't depend on getting another good chairman like Mr. Greenspan, and are more likely to get another Arthur Burns or Ben Bernanke. Serious work by economists Lawrence H. White of the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and George Selgin of West Virginia University makes a persuasive case that abolishing the Fed and deregulating money would improve the macroeconomy. I'm making a more modest claim: Mr. Greenspan was not to blame for the housing bubble.Another finishes her post with:
At this point, dickering over whether Alan Greenspan should have formulated monetary policy in strict accordance with an econometrically determined "rule," or whether the Fed even has the power to influence long-term rates, raises a more fundamental question: Why do we need a central bank?Maybe we can realistically hope for a dismantling of the Fed in the not so distant future?
"There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly believe that we did very well in the 1870 to 1914 period with an international gold standard." That was Mr. Greenspan, speaking 17 months ago on the Fox Business Network.
In the rules-versus-discretion debate over how best to achieve sound money, that is the ultimate answer.