Mr. Bernanke needs to steal a page from the Volcker playbook. To forcefully tackle the unemployment problem, he needs to set a new policy framework — in this case, to begin targeting the path of nominal gross domestic product.Just as Volcker's regime shift provided cover for a controversial action the Fed felt it needed to undertake (extreme tightening) and facilitated a shift in inflation expectations, a shift to a nominal GDP target would make possible (indeed, require) more aggressive expansion and thereby raise inflation expectations (which means lower real interest rates, ceteris paribus).
Nominal G.D.P. is just a technical term for the dollar value of everything we produce. It is total output (real G.D.P.) times the current prices we pay. Adopting this target would mean that the Fed is making a commitment to keep nominal G.D.P. on a sensible path.
See also Paul Krugman, who agrees and Binyamin Appelbaum, who reports that the Fed is unmoved. Free Exchange's Greg Ip makes a contrary case and his colleague Ryan Avent responds.