美联储被束缚的思维

芝加哥—在美国政府关门成为美国政坛中心问题之前,所有的注意力都集中在总统奥巴马的下一任美联储主席提名上。事实上,任命副主席珍妮特·耶伦继任本·伯南克凸显出一个要点:这个曾经只有书呆子经济学家才感兴趣的技术性任命如今成了政治紧张局面的主要原因,不但在共和党和民主党之间形成分歧(要达到这个目的花不了多少力气),还造成了民主党内部的分裂。

有趣的是,争论点不在于候选人对通货膨胀的立场,而在于候选人对银行监管的立场。为何美联储主席的职位变得如此具有政治重要性?为什么美国参议员们(奥巴马的任命需要他们的批准)对银行监管的兴趣胜过通货膨胀?

这些变化只不过是2008年金融危机及其后伯南克所采取的克服危机的政策的后果。为了把金融系统救出崩溃——以及在随后刺激经济复苏——美联储采取了非常积极的政策:近零利率、大规模资产购买计划、向银行准备金付息,等等。这些政策在刺激经济方面取得了部分成功,但也造成了巨大的分配效应,影响着从小储户到银行,从资不抵债的屋主到富得流油的投资者,从退休金领取者到金融家的所有人。

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