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Fed’s Plosser Says Understanding Crisis May Take 50 Years

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said it may take at least 50 years to understand the financial crisis and whether the central bank responded with the right actions.

“It will be at least 50 years before we really understand very well what happened in 2008-2009, and we will be interpreting for another 50 years as to whether the Federal Reserve undertook the right policies or the wrong policies,” Plosser said today during an audience discussion at a Fed conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Citing continuing debate about the Great Depression seven decades later, Plosser said that “humility is in order” for policy makers on their ability to make decisions and later understand whether they got it right.

“I have no doubt that at the end of the crisis of 2008-2009 the Federal Reserve will pat itself on the back for a job well done,” Plosser said, referring to a conference speaker, Columbia University Professor Charles Calomiris, who said central bankers patted themselves on the back after the Depression. “There’s a lot of history left to be written.”

Plosser, 62, the Philadelphia Fed president since 2006, said Sept. 29 that he opposed further large-scale asset purchases. On Nov. 3 the Fed decided to buy $600 billion of Treasuries in an expansion of record stimulus.

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