The chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve wants to know if the Fed's actions are leading to "the enhancement of well-being."
A story earlier this week in The Maui News said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has decided that determining citizens' happiness is an important gauge and should be considered when measuring economic progress. This new branch of economics is deemed "happiness studies."
Wow, it sure sounds like Bernanke is out of bullets in his effort to turn this economy around. Yes, it is well known that optimistic people make investments and buy things - and that, ostensibly, helps the economy.
But, frankly, it seems the Fed should be studying unemployment reports, foreclosure rates and retail prices instead of happiness meters. Then use its considerable financial tools to affect them for the better.
Instead, the Fed apparently wants to become the country's psychoanalyst.
We'd offer this opening gambit for "happiness studies":
You have cause and effect backwards. A happy citizenry is composed of people with good jobs, affordable mortgages and stable prices. Those conditions - jobs, housing and stability - are a cause for happiness, not the result of it.
If Bernanke really is interested in the country's well-being, he should stick to attempts to stimulate the economy and persistently criticize the government for failing to address tax reform as well as the debt and deficits.
My goodness, we want the Fed chief to act like an economist - not like Lucy in the "Peanuts" comic strip.
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