I came across a word the other day that I don’t see or use very often. In particular, I am not sure why I wouldn’t use it more often, at least in the context of my blog, to convey with more precision what is often my thought about the subject matter, while instead opting for a wordier and taxing description. So I decided to break the habit of overly taxing descriptions of offensive policy by making this word my word of the day in order to get used to using it, and the word is: insidious.

From the Free Dictionary:

in·sid·i·ous  (ĭn-sĭd′ē-əs)


  1. Working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner: insidious rumors; an insidious disease.
  2. Intended to entrap; treacherous: insidious misinformation.
  3. Beguiling but harmful; alluring: insidious pleasures.

It sums up my opinion of hard core IT and its proponents quite nicely without the need for words and phrases like appalling, tyrannical, moral hazard and intellectual dishonesty, etc.., that convey an order of harsh that may be more than intended.

Over the weekend, I’ve been thinking about the fact that Marvin Goodfriend’s nomination to the Fed’s Board of Governors is stalled in the Senate and I’ve started a post about this in a couple of different ways.

At first, I didn’t place the blame for a nomination that is all but dead on Goodfriend himself. He is a very talented macroeconomist and is certainly capable of doing at the Fed what needs to be done. In my view, the lack of rules for the Fed to live by is the real problem here, with the comments for Sherrod Brown, the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, referring to Goodfriend’s relentless focus on inflation over employment and Goodfriend’s advocacy for a rules approach to monetary policy.

In reality, the ranking member’s criticism doesn’t make technical sense. After all, the Fed is officially an inflation targeting central bank and it isn’t healthy to target real variables. But I don’t believe Brown was making a technical argument. He obviously wasn’t making a case against rules-based monetary policy when he appears to be genuinely concerned about what Goodfriend might do at the Fed based on his personal policy preferences if confirmed. Brown’s criticism simply cannot make any sense at outside of the context of the specific rule advocated by Goodfriend, the Taylor rule that prioritizes inflation control over employment concerns. In the presence of rational rules to live by at the Fed and clearly understood consequences for breaking these rules, the discourse over Goodfriend’s nomination I think would be quite different.

The post that I began to explain my theory of why Goodfriend’s nomination has stalled turned out belonging to the realm of editing nightmares because being charitable in a situation where I more or less agree with the opposition is much harder to do than I imagined, and I couldn’t get what I really wanted to say down in print in a satisfactory way.

After a while of laboring away on this post, I decided to take a break from it, thinking that if I could find a video of Goodfriend’s nomination hearing it would help me to finish it. I couldn’t find one. Instead what I found was a hearing attended by Goodfriend in 2010 that convinced me that the post needed to be scrapped entirely because it is the epitome of insidious while presenting other issues that are more political than anything else. After watching it there really isn’t any other argument to be posed in support Goodfriend’s nomination even if Congress had done its job in order to bring rational order to disorderly intellectuals at the Fed.



Please – watch the whole thing.