By now it should be clear, as The Wall Street Journal and other news organisations have been reporting, that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke isn’t likely to break much new monetary-policy ground in his Jackson Hole speech Friday.
He has already talked about the monetary policy options for boosting a sluggish economy — including, but not limited to, additional securities purchases known as quantitative easing. His constraints to further action are also well-known, including the fact that inflation is higher today than it was last August when he used his Jackson Hole speech to preview a second round of quantitative easing. More easing is an option on the table, but Fed officials aren’t in a hurry to do it. They want to see how growth and inflation unfold in the weeks and months ahead.