From the FOMC meeting, August 22, 2000
transcript, page 82,
CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN. President Jordan.
MR. JORDAN. Thank you. I agree that leaving the funds rate unchanged at this point is
the right thing to do. I am also sensitive to the communications issues involved; it would not be
desirable to communicate the expectation that we are not going to raise the funds rate in the
foreseeable future or to imply that the next change might be down rather than up. But it is a
challenge as to how to avoid communicating that.
Regarding the language on the balance of risks, part of me would like to say that the
statement should always be that an unavoidable, permanent feature of a fiat money system is a
balance of risks toward higher inflation. [Laughter] If it ain’t going down it’s going up! But since I
am not likely to win that one, I think we do have to spend a little more time here on what it is that
leads us to believe that the balance of risks is toward higher inflation. I say that because in some of
the discussion today and in previous meetings it sounded to me as if we worry that higher
productivity through various avenues--through demand increases, wealth effects, higher real interest
rates, and liquidity injected by the central bank--causes higher inflation. And as Governor Meyer
suggested, we worry that lower productivity causes higher inflation. So, until we sort out a little
better whether higher productivity causes inflation or lower productivity raises the risk of inflation,
we are not quite ready to explain why we think the risks are toward higher inflation.
(I get the distinct impression they are/were not laughing WITH us.
If you'd like to prove to yourself I'm not making it all up ... )
Transcripts and other historical materials
August 22 Meeting
transcript (page 82)