This just goes to show how ignorant I must be about monetary policy. I was on the side of Ben Bernanke's detractors all the while when the Fed was conducting the multiple QEs. Surely it would have to cause inflation sooner or later. Well, it will have to be later.
For inflation measured from the price index for Personal Consumption Expenditures — the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation to assess monetary policy — Bernanke’s average inflation rate of 1.8% over his term through Q2 2013 is the lowest average inflation rate of any Fed chair during the postwar period. For the most recent quarter (Q2 2013), Personal Consumption Expenditure inflation was only 1.1%, the lowest rate in the last 15 quarters, and that inflation measure has been below 2% for the last five quarters starting in the second quarter last year.
All righty then.
"Personal Consumption Expenditures" is defined at bea.gov which provides this as its reason for importance:
Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) is the primary measure of consumer spending on goods and services in the U.S. economy. It accounts for about two-thirds of domestic final spending, and thus it is the primary engine that drives future economic growth. PCE shows how much of the income earned by households is being spent on current consumption as opposed to how much is being saved for future consumption.
Hmm. So if it's a ratio of spending to savings then consumers must be doing a lot of saving. That's what they're supposed to be doing, but it does seem to suggest a level of pessimism. For that I blame regime uncertainty.