A recent Gallup Poll surveyed the public’s impression of how various federal agencies were doing their job. Of the agencies evaluated, on the bottom was the Federal Reserve Board. Only 30 percent of the respondents rated the Fed’s performance as either excellent or good. I can understand now why Chairman Bernanke felt the need to take his act on the road. Even the IRS managed to get 40 percent of respondents to see its job performance as excellent or good. A majority of the public, 57 percent, sees the Fed’s current performance as either poor or fair.
The result is not just driven by a general public disdain for federal agencies; over a majority of respondents thought such agencies as the Center for Disease Control, NASA and the FBI were doing an excellent or good job.
Nor is the result driven by public ignorance or indifference to the Fed; only a few years ago, back in 2003, 53 percent of Americans said the Federal Reserve was doing an excellent or good job and only 5% called its job performance poor. But then, the Fed was also giving us negative real interest rates at that time as well. Perhaps there’s a good reason to insulate the Fed from short-term public and political pressures. Let’s hope Chairman Bernanke does not read these results as an excuse for repeating the Fed’s 2003 monetary policies.