Weekend Reading: Hilzoy: Liberating Iraq (from 2007)
Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (November 26, 2018)

Monday Smackdown: Hoisted: Cliff Asness Department

**Hoisted from the Archives: 7 days before the fifth anniversary of his appearing as lead signatory of the right-wing Republican "Open Letter to Ben Bernanke—Cliff Asness spent 82 minutes talking to Tyler Cowen. The phrase "Federal Reserve" does not appear in the transcript. The phrase "quantitative easing" does not appear in the transcript. The word "monetary" does not appear in the transcript. The word "debasement" does not appear. Tyler Cowen does not ask questions using any of those words. Cliff Asness does not use any of those words in answering questions.

Seems to me Cliff Asness owes Ben Bernanke a big apology for this. And perhaps he could give us some clues as to whether he has learned anything from looking back at his wrong claim that Bernanke did not understand what the Federal Reserve should be doing?

Cliff Asness et al. (2010): Open Letter to Ben Bernanke (2010): "We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called ‘quantitative easing’)...

...should be reconsidered and discontinued.  We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances.  The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment.

We subscribe to your statement in the Washington Post on November 4 that ‘the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy’s problems on its own.’  In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus.

We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.

The Fed’s purchase program has also met broad opposition from other central banks and we share their concerns that quantitative easing by the Fed is neither warranted nor helpful in addressing either U.S. or global economic problems.

Cliff Asness * Michael J. Boskin * Richard X. Bove * Charles W. Calomiris * Jim Chanos * John F. Cogan * Niall Ferguson * Nicole Gelinas * James Grant * Kevin A. Hassett * Roger Hertog * Gregory Hess * Douglas Holtz-Eakin * Seth Klarman * William Kristol * David Malpass * Ronald I. McKinnon * Dan Senor * Amity Shlaes * Paul E. Singer * John B. Taylor * Peter J. Wallison * Geoffrey Wood