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Nov 10, 2017

Is this a fork in the Fed’s road? President Trump has nominated Jerome Powell to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Whether Powell will continue down the same path of Janet Yellen, and Ben Bernanke before her, remains an open question. Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former advisor to Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and author of Fed Up, says that Powell, in combination with other new faces at the central bank, could be poised to effect some serious change. Miles Kimball, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Boulder, isn’t so sure.

The real debate, however, is how Fed ought to operate, particularly once the next crisis crops its head. Booth and Kimball emerge as polar opposites here, with Booth advising a retreat from unconventional policies designed to stimulate the economy, and Kimball recommending that the Fed take interest rates sharply negative in the next downturn. More broadly, Kimball is a fan of rigorous action from the Fed, while Booth would like to see more humility in the Eccles Building.

Once the sides have been staked in the Fed debate, Booth takes her leave of this planet, and tells us what she would bring on a trip to Mars.

And speaking of humility, Kimball closes out the episode by offering up something he got wrong. Interestingly, it concerns not finance, but fat.