In the late 2010s, I frequently had to deal with commenters who complained about Fed policy. They echoed President Trump’s complaints that the Fed was holding back the economy. Inflation was slightly too low.  They felt there was unused potential.  They had all sorts of grand ideas for reforming Fed policy.

Let’s review the data:

Unemployment in December 2017 was 4.1%, and then fell gradually to 3.6% in December 2019.

PCE inflation averaged 1.8% in the final three years of the decade, about 0.2% below target.

To an economist like me that lived through the Great Inflation and spent his life studying the Great Depression, that’s almost paradise. While I agreed with critics that things were not exactly perfect, I also understood that things could be far, far worse.

And now they are.

To succeed, one must recognize what success looks like.  Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.