Exclusive Interview With Dr. Norbert Michel -- Part One

Dr. Norbert Michel

Thegoldstandardnow.org is pleased to have held an extended exclusive interview with Dr. Norbert Michel, Fellow in Financial Regulations, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, The Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation.  From his short biography at Heritage.org:

“Norbert Michel studies and writes about housing finance, including the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in financial regulations.

“Michel, working in Heritage’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies,  also focuses on the best way to address difficulties at large financial companies (the “too big to fail” problem).  In addition, he researches monetary policy and other issues related to the Federal Reserve.”

This interview, to be published over several weeks, will include a close look, among other matters, at Heritage's recent publication of an important Backgrounder The Centennial Monetary Commission Act of 2013: A Second Look at the Fed and the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Today we offer Part One:

Q: You have returned to Heritage fairly recently.  What brought you back?

A: After the 2008 financial crisis I wanted to get back into policy.  The opportunity to come back to Heritage and work on financial market issues came up, so I jumped.  These issues – monetary policy and financial regulation – are incredibly important to me.

Q: Dr. Michel, you just issued Heritage Backgrounder 2926, The Centennial Monetary Commission Act of 2013: A Second Look at the Fed and the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Please tell our readers what a Heritage Backgrounder is, how Heritage decides what issues to devote Backgrounders to, and how it is distributed to policy makers.

A: A Heritage Backgrounder is a policy paper that provides substantial context for a policy issue.  Our analysts, individually and in collaboration with others in the building, as well as the broader policy community, decide which topics they want to write their papers on.  That said, issues do emerge as institutional priorities from time to time and, when they do, we address them appropriately.  Further, while Heritage relies on its experts to determine a research agenda, we organize ourselves such that each person at Heritage understands the institution’s broader goals.  We then engage in activities that support those priorities.  So I think about how my issue areas fit into that larger context and then I develop my research agenda. 

As for connecting with policymakers, our policy and promotion people distribute the papers to Hill staff, and I have my own distribution list.

Q: For the first time, Heritage is featuring monetary policy as a priority matter for federal policy makers.  How did that shift happen?

A: Well, I can really only speak for myself on this one – when I was hired I was asked if I wanted to cover monetary policy, and I  definitely wanted to.  I suspect that the aftermath of the financial crisis heightened everyone’s interest (institutionally), but that could just be me projecting my own experience to others. 

Q: How high a priority does Heritage see the Fed, monetary integrity, and, as an option, the gold standard?

A: We definitely see monetary policy as a high priority, but we’re really still looking to further the debate.  We haven’t yet taken any positions other than we need to get rid of purely discretionary monetary policy.


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Ralph J. Benko, Editor

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