Tags: Blinder | Bernanke | hawks | QE

Blinder: 'Fed Is Very Badly Split'

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:25 PM

By Dan Weil

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While inflation hawks are calling for the Federal Reserve to quickly taper its quantitative easing (QE), they don't have the upper hand. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke does, says former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder.

That means no immediate reduction in the Fed's monthly purchases of $85 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, he suggested.

"The market should understand that the Fed is very badly split," Blinder, now a Princeton University economist, told CNBC.

Editor's Note:
Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

"There are hawks, doves and even some super hawks. [Kansas City Fed President] Esther George has been dissenting all through the year. [But] the Bernanke side is winning."

Bernanke and his allies, including Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and New York Fed President William Dudley, are in the "driving seat," Blinder said.

"The voices that really matter at the Fed are talking very, very differently than the people that are saying we should get out of this. Many of them thought we never should have gotten into this in the first place. That's very different from Ben Bernanke's attitude."

"All you hear about is what if the Fed overstays its hand and we get inflation. They could make an error like that, but they could also make an error of withdrawing the accommodation too soon," he noted.

"The Fed is not perfect. It can make mistakes. But what's gotten lost in the conversation is that it can make a mistake in either direction."

While Bernanke gave mixed messages to Congress Wednesday, many economists think a tapering of QE isn't likely for at least a few months.

"The Fed is not looking to very quickly get out of this," Michael Hanson, a former Fed economist who is now at Bank of America, told Bloomberg.

"There are obviously a few members who want to wrap this up sooner than later, but Bernanke doesn't seem eager to pull back on QE very soon. He wants to see more evidence that the economy really is moving on a forward path."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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