Why must we continue to read, listen, and converse about when the Federal Reserve will increase the Fed funds rate to an infinitesimal one-quarter of one percentage point? Just do it and get it over with.
A review of Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policies shows that few of the central bank’s recent actions have achieved their desired goals. Therefore the central bank has little to lose in moving ahead with such a minor rate increase.
The Fed put the U.S. through three rounds of quantitative easing. Through all of them, the economy limped along at an average gross domestic product growth rate of about 2.3%–the slowest economic recovery since World War II. After each round, observers worried that ending QE would be bad for the economy.
What happened? Very little. The economy is still growing at about the same sluggish pace. Long-term interest rates haven’t changed that much.
Meanwhile, the Fed has held off shrinking its balance sheet. This is a mistake. The central bank should allow its current $4.5 trillion securities holdings to decrease as principal payments and maturities occur.