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Anna J. Schwartz, a research economist who wrote monumental works on American financial history in collaboration with the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman while remaining largely in his shadow, died on Thursday at her home in Manhattan. She was 96.
AS Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke has committed serious sins of commission and omission — and for those many sins, he does not deserve reappointment.
Let me begin with the former. It is standard practice for a central bank like the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy to combat a recession, and then to tighten it as recovery gets under way. Mr. Bernanke so far has only had to do the first half, and has conducted a policy of extreme ease. The Fed’s Open Market Committee cut the federal funds rate in October to 1 percent from 1.5 percent, and then in December to a range of zero percent to 0.25 percent.
What drove down the funds rate was the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase its depository bank reserves. Bank reserves have been rising since Sept. 17, as the Fed purchased securities and financed loans. When the Fed committee cut the rate to zero, it was merely ratifying the de facto rate.
Mr. Bernanke seems to know only two amounts: zero and trillions. Before 2008 there were only moderate increases in the Federal Reserve’s aggregate balance sheet numbers, but since then the balance sheet has exploded by trillions of dollars. The increase was spurred by the Fed’s loans to troubled institutions and purchases of securities.
Why is easy monetary policy such a sin? Because in such an environment, loans are cheap and borrowers can finance every project that they dream up. This results in excesses, and also increases the severity of the recession that inevitably follows when the bubble bursts.
So who gets her apartment?
The highest bidder of course.
No sign of a UCC filing under deceased's (or late spouse's) name for their WEA building. Possible that it will go to a relative (unlikely) or show up soon as a sponsor sale.