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Critics of Fed on Left and Right Prepare to Head to Jackson Hole

NEW YORK—Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen may be skipping the Kansas City Fed’s high-profile conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this year, but the central bank’s critics are not.

At least two groups—one on the right and one from the left—are expected to show up in some fashion to press the Fed to change its policies.

The conference, Aug. 27-29, will draw Fed officials, foreign central bankers, academic economists, reporters and others to talk about inflation and monetary policy in view of Grand Teton mountain range.

Just a short-drive away from the conference, the conservative American Principles Project has scheduled another conference to discuss how the group believes the Fed has failed to defend the dollar and promote prosperity. This gathering is titled, “Central Banks: The Problem or the Solution?”

Liberal-leaning activists from the Fed Up Coalition–representing unions, community activists and policy advocates–are also expected to gather in Jackson Hole, much as they did last year, to urge the Fed to change its structure to become more open and democratic.

The group opposes raising short-term interest rates from near zero now. The members want the Fed to maintain its ultra-easy policy to spur the economy and lift more of the nation’s workers out of troubled economic conditions. Members of the group have been meeting with Fed officials lately to voice their concerns.

The Kansas City Fed conference in Jackson Hole gives central bank officials a chance to socialize, hike, debate major issues facing the global economy and occasionally make major policy speeches. Attendance is strictly by invitation-only.

APP monetary-policy director Steven Lonegan said the aim of his event is to refocus the Fed on defending the dollar. “We are really challenging the Fed toe to toe on their own turf” by coming to Jackson Hole, he said.

The broader mission of the conference, Mr. Lonegan said, was to engage the nation’s political candidates to speak about the Fed. He said all known candidates have been asked to appear at the event, although none have so far accepted.

The APP event includes representatives from the Heritage Foundation, economists, Fox Business Network personality John Stossel, and a member of the British Parliament, according to the conference program.

Source: Wall Street Journal