La Fed et la stabilité des prix

SAN FRANCISCO – Il y a une grande différence entre le mandat de maintien de la stabilité des prix de la Fed [Réserve fédérale américaine] fixé par ses statuts et l'objectif d'un taux d'inflation de 2% qu'elle s'est attribuée d'elle-même. Dans ces conditions, comment se fait-il que les dirigeants politiques confondent l'un et l'autre ?

La "stabilité des prix" est une expression dénuée d'ambiguïté : un panier de biens doit conserver le même prix sur une longue période, qu'il s'agisse de 10, 50 ou même 100 ans. Par contre un calcul simple montre que si l'inflation est de 2%, un article qui coûte aujourd'hui 100 euros en vaudra 122 au bout de 10 ans et atteindra la somme rondelette de 724 euros au bout de 100 ans.

Lors de sa récente audition devant le Congrès, Janet Yellen, la présidente de la Fed, a mentionné plusieurs fois le mandat de maintien de la stabilité des prix, mais elle a mentionné deux fois plus fréquemment un autre objectif de la Fed : un taux d'inflation de 2%. "L'inflation des USA est encore inférieure à l'objectif de 2% de la Commission" a-t-elle déclaré, il faut donc continuer à faire preuve de volontarisme "pour améliorer encore la situation de l'emploi et favoriser un retour de l'inflation vers un taux de 2% à moyen terme".

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