The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Take your pick: median or average core CPI; both tell the same story

Ricardian Ambivalence notes, as I have done on too many occasions to count, "the RBA has a 2.5% inflation target, and believes that there is no long run trade-off between inflation and unemployment and activity." That is, keeping inflation low and stable is entirely consistent with maximising employment growth. In the monetary policy statement that the RBA signs with every new government, it actually formalises this point, and, by doing so, has deliberately sought to prioritise inflation-targeting over employment considerations. Specifically, the RBA argues (in contrast to those who think it has a "dual mandate"):

"Since the early 1990s, inflation targeting has formed the basis of Australia's monetary policy framework. Since 1996, this framework has been formalised in a Statement on the Conduct of Monetary Policy. The inflation targeting framework has served Australia well and is reaffirmed in the current statement...Price stability is a crucial precondition for sustained growth in economic activity and employment...In pursuing the goal of medium-term price stability, both the Reserve Bank and the Government agree on the objective of keeping consumer price inflation between 2 and 3 per cent, on average, over the cycle."

Ricardian Ambivalence then offers up this not-so-pretty-picture for the RBA to consider (it compares average and median core inflation on a rolling 5-year basis, which are both = or > 3% pa):