David Beckworth, with Romesh Ponnuru, makes the NYT.
It took a bigger shock to the economy to bring the financial system down. That shock was tighter money. Through acts and omissions, the Fed kept interest rates and expected interest rates higher than appropriate, depressing the economy.
In a way, this is an easy argument to make.
1. A recession is, almost by definition, the economy operating below potential.
2. Operating below potential is, almost by definition, a shortfall in aggregate demand. The only other type of adverse event is a supply shock, which reduces potential but does not force the economy to operate below that reduced potential.
3. The Fed controls aggregate demand.
4. Therefore, all recessions are the fault of the Fed. Either by commission or omission, the Fed has messed up if we have a recession.
It is an easy argument to make, but I believe close to none of it. I do not believe in the AS-AD framework. And I do not believe (3). If you do not know why I have my views, go back and read posts under the categories “PSST and Macro” and “Monetary Economics.”
My view is that the housing boom and the accompanying financial mania helped hide some underlying adjustment problems in the economy. The crash, the financial crisis, and the response to that crisis all helped to aggravate those underlying adjustment problems. I suspect that, on net, the bailouts and the stimulus diverted resources to where they were less useful for maintaining employment than would have been the case if the government had not intervened. My basis for this suspicion is my belief that people who do not need help are often more effective at extracting money from the government than people who do need it.
There has been much other commentary on the op-ed–see Scott Sumner’s post.