Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Real Deflategate

The Fed has intensely debated
When interest-rate hikes should be slated.
Like a team I won't name,
They're playing the game
With balls that are underinflated.

With a mandate to find the right measure
Of balancing jobs versus treasure,
They're Patriots all,
But the Hawks want the ball
To be at the usual pressure.

The rate of the jobholding share
Is less than appears to be there,
As if it were tested
And then one suggested
To secretly let out some air.

In spite of the fear of inflation,
Wages display moderation,
Since it's hard to inflate
With a tumbling rate
Of labor force participation.

Says Yellen: "It starts to annoy,
In discussing the rate of employ,
The analogy calls
For playing with balls;
Is it something the fellows enjoy?"

"It seems to me, based on my role,
The economy's just like the Bowl:
The material might
Be flaccid or tight,
But the point is to get to the goal."

Deflation is an urgent subject in sports and the economy; while the American athletic world was roiled by the news that the New England Patriots may have won the AFC championship with unfairly deflated balls, the economic world is riveted by signs of deflation on many fronts. Oil and other commodities are seemingly in free fall; Germany reported headline deflation in the latest month; and in the USA, wages continue to lag the apparent improvement in employment rates. In spite of all this, at least some Fed officials want to begin raising interest rates; not because they see inflation in the present, but because they feel they can "see where the ball is going to be." In the view of the Hawks, inflation is always the greater danger.

The (Sea)hawks, meanwhile, are taking on the Patriots in today's Super Bowl contest, no doubt with properly inflated balls. With his well-known avian bias, Dr. Goose wishes them victory today, though when it comes to the economy we are all Patriots.

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