Laughter: the best Fed-icine
I forget who originally came up with the idea of searching for “[Laughter]” in the transcripts of Fed meetings (though this piece from the Atlantic collects all the best ones from bubblicious 2006, and is pretty much canonical as far as I can see). Today, the WSJ has posted heavily-redacted FoI transcripts of Fed meetings from 2007 to 2010 (and kudos to them for posting primary sources), and there are a couple of gems in there as well.
Firstly, Ben Bernanke gives a tribute to the departing Vincent Reinhart:
Vincent [Reinhart]’s legacy, of course, will live on in the meeting transcripts from his tenure, as the transcripts become public over the next few years. For example, in the May 2004 transcript, Vincent is caught using the words “cattle prods” in reference to a possible experiment involving bond market traders. [Laughter]
And it’s nice to see that in 2007, Tim Geithner took the job of selecting a manager of the System Open Market Account very very seriously indeed:
MR. KOHN. I’d be very pleased to nominate Bill Dudley as the Manager of the System Open Market Account.
MR. FISHER. You have to put your head down, Bill. [Laughter]
MR. POOLE. Second.
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. Thank you. Without objection. Thank you.
VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. I think we should rule out humor. [Laughter] This is an important annual process, and New York plays an important role.
MR. REINHART. So it will not say “laughter” in the margins. [Laughter]
CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. I think we’ve started on the wrong tone here. [Laughter]
There’re plenty more, too; if economists’ humour is your thing, hit this link and search for “[Laughter]“, square brackets.