四面楚歌的央行行长

芝加哥—可怜的本·伯南克!作为美国联邦储备委员会主席,在最近一段时间里,他比其他任何央行行长更加积极地试图使用货币政策刺激经济。他已将短期利率调低到了极限水平。他已经采用了创新性货币宽松办法。他一次又一次地重复说,通胀压力能够被控制,他的主要担忧在于美国失业率。但激进派经济学家仍然炮轰伯南克做得不够。

他们还想伯南克怎么样呢?提高目标通胀率,他们说,这样世界就太平了。当然,这将与美联储的立场背道而驰,后者一直在努力让公众相信它将把通胀维持在2%左右。这一立场的可信度是美联储采取积极举措的基础:很难想象,美联储将其资产负债表扩张到让公众不再相信其通胀目标的程度会怎么样。既然如此,那些经济学家为什么还希望美联储牺牲掉好不容易得来的成果呢?

答案在于他们对持续高失业根源的看法:过高的真实利率。此种逻辑十分简单。2008年金融危机爆发以前,消费者利用上涨的房价大量举债,撑起了美国的需求。如今,这些负债累累的家庭不再能够通过借钱来应付开支了。

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