Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Furnish an Elastic Currency

One of the main reasons for establishing the Fed was to create a "lender of last resort." The Federal Reserve Act passed in 1913:
To provide for the establishment of Federal reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.
Over time, this function of the Fed has receded into the background, but it is now again front and center, as the Fed continues to step up its lending activity, and is now even planning to buy commerical paper. Econbrowser offers an excellent summary of the action, so far, on the Fed's balance sheet.

On the Times' new economics blog, David Leonhardt has praise for Bernanke.

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