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What Jerome Powell can learn from Arthur Burns

by Thomas J Sargent other William L Silver

History, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell he said last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, warning against “premature easing” of Fed policy. Have you learned anything from Arthur Burns? Burns, who led the Fed from 1970 to 1978, tightened credit to fight inflation in the early 1970s but then defaulted. That contributed to the Great Inflation.

Burns, a respected economist who had been president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, had impeccable anti-inflation credentials when the president Richard Nixon He named. hey taught Milton Friedman when Friedman was a student at Rutgers University and trained the future Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, who did graduate work at Columbia. But Burns eventually admitted that he failed to control inflationary pressures when he had the opportunity to do so.


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