Economics was my intellectual life from 1983-1989. I loved it. I read book after book on the topic. I majored in Economics at UCLA, the University of Chicago of the West. It was a libertarian-leaning department, the only non-liberal department in the social sciences at UCLA.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced me to drop out of school well short of my undergraduate degree and my interests have moved on to Judaism and other topics.
I still like to read about economics however.
A couple of years ago, I had a job driving a friend around. He had arthritic feet and couldn’t drive himself.
My friend was a liberal. I’m a conservative. But we both had high regard for Ben Bernanke, who was nominated by President Bush.
“Bernanke has a first-class mind,” my friend kept saying. “He’s not an ideologue.”
My current favorite candidate for the Republican nomination for president is Rick Perry, who accused Bernanke today of almost committing treason with his overly loose monetary policies.
This is strong talk and is getting widely condemned.
Ending the Fed’s tight-money policies need not punish savers, as is often alleged, because a healthy economic recovery should raise real returns. Conservatives are suspicious of any loosening because they think of it as a government intervention in the free market. But they are wrong. A central bank that keeps the supply of money too low is just as interventionist as one that keeps it too high.
There’s a strong case against central banking itself — against, that is, having a government agency with vast discretion over the money supply. But as long as we have one, it ought to set the best policy it can. And as long as we’re debating its conduct, we ought to be asking the right questions.