The Fed’s Inflation Goal Is Completely Arbitrary

The Fed’s Inflation Goal: A Critical Examination of its Arbitrary Nature


In the realm of monetary policy, the Federal Reserve’s inflation goal has long been a subject of debate and scrutiny. Critics argue that this target, set by the central bank, lacks a solid foundation and is merely an arbitrary figure. This article aims to delve into the intricacies of the Fed’s inflation goal, exploring its origins, implications, and the arguments surrounding its arbitrary nature.

Origins of the Fed’s Inflation Goal:

The Federal Reserve, as the United States’ central bank, is tasked with maintaining price stability and promoting maximum employment. To achieve these objectives, the Fed has set an inflation goal of 2%. This target was initially established in 2012 and has since been reaffirmed multiple times. However, the question arises: why 2%?

Critics argue that the 2% figure lacks a clear rationale. Unlike other economic indicators, such as unemployment rates or GDP growth, the inflation goal seems to lack a concrete basis. This has led to skepticism among economists and policymakers, who question the arbitrary nature of this target.

Implications of an Arbitrary Inflation Goal:

An arbitrary inflation goal can have far-reaching implications for the economy. Firstly, it undermines the credibility of the Federal Reserve. If the public perceives the inflation target as arbitrary, it erodes trust in the central bank’s ability to effectively manage monetary policy. This can lead to increased uncertainty and volatility in financial markets, hampering economic growth.

Moreover, an arbitrary inflation goal can distort economic decision-making. Businesses and consumers rely on stable price expectations to plan investments, make purchasing decisions, and negotiate contracts. When the inflation target lacks a solid foundation, it becomes challenging for economic agents to accurately anticipate future price levels, leading to suboptimal resource allocation and market inefficiencies.

Arguments Surrounding the Arbitrary Nature:

Proponents of the Fed’s inflation goal argue that it serves as an anchor for price stability. By setting a target, the central bank aims to prevent deflationary spirals or runaway inflation, both of which can have detrimental effects on the economy. They contend that while the specific figure may be arbitrary, the goal itself provides a framework for the Fed’s monetary policy decisions.

However, critics counter that an arbitrary inflation goal fails to account for the diverse needs and circumstances of different economies. They argue that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be suitable for all economic conditions, as inflation dynamics can vary significantly across countries and time periods. This raises concerns about the effectiveness and appropriateness of a fixed inflation target.


The Fed’s inflation goal, set at 2%, has been a subject of ongoing debate. While proponents argue that it provides a necessary anchor for price stability, critics contend that the target lacks a solid foundation and is arbitrary in nature. The implications of an arbitrary inflation goal can undermine the credibility of the central bank and distort economic decision-making. As the economy evolves, it becomes crucial to reevaluate the rationale behind the inflation target and consider alternative approaches that account for the diverse needs of different economies. Only through a comprehensive examination can we ensure that the Fed’s inflation goal aligns with the ever-changing dynamics of the global economy.