Beyond the Build


Manning the Battleship

For the last few years, I’ve served as one of the directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Birmingham Branch. This country is fortunate to have a strong central bank. When congress founded the Fed in 1913, it was explicitly stated that goals should bemaximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.” Beyond this, the Fed’s goals are often further described as a “dual mandate” to achieve stable prices and also maximum employment. Our Federal Reserve operates across 12 different districts in the U.S.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss interest rates with WBRC, specifically in regard to the recent .25% rate hike. You can see that interview here.

Speaking personally, I have always thought that action by the FOMC is kind of like adjusting the direction of a huge battleship flotilla. A small twist can make a big impact on trajectory, so care and data mining are important. With the exception of a couple of years in the last decade, we’ve been cruising along at less than a 2% inflation rate. The goal is at least 2%. Hopefully, in a few quarters, our current inflation rate will moderate.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.