Stanford's John Taylor Says Trump's Fed Barbs Add to Debate

(Bloomberg) -- Stanford University economist John Taylor, once considered a finalist to run the Federal Reserve, played down concerns that President Donald Trump’s criticism of the U.S. central bank would undermine the institution’s independence.

“Of course you always wonder what people are saying about monetary policy and what’s the reason for it, but he also emphasized normalization is important to have happen,” Taylor said when asked about the president’s critique. “The message here is that he’s participating in the discussion, and that’s it.”

Stanford's John Taylor Says Trump's Fed Barbs Add to Debate

Taylor’s comments, which he made to Kathleen Hays in a Bloomberg Television interview, come after Trump repeatedly criticized central bankers this week for their pace of interest-rate increases, calling the policy “crazy” and “loco.” The broadsides marked a departure from more than two decades of White House tradition of avoiding comments on monetary policy out of respect for Fed independence.

Taylor said he agreed with the Fed’s policy to increase interest rates to higher levels and acknowledged that the central bank’s pace is “about right.”

Taylor, 71, is famous for developing a formula in the early 1990s -- since known as the Taylor Rule -- to determine a central bank’s appropriate benchmark interest rate. Though the rule’s recommendations vary depending on the assumptions about the economy that are plugged in, it has generally prescribed a rate higher than that set by the Fed.

“Normalization is very important right now,” according to Taylor, who spoke from Bali, Indonesia, where he’s attending meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. “This is a process that we have to go through. The world would be better off if we do it, and it’s just a matter of the pace.”

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